Freedom House Grantee Holds First-Ever Internet Freedom Forum in Burma

Rangoon, Burma

June 3, 2013 - A leading Burmese NGO, The Myanmar ICT for Development Organization (MIDO), concluded the inaugural Internet Freedom Forum in Yangon with a call to the more than 350 participants representing government, civil society, technical fields and business communities to form a network of advocates for Internet freedom in the country. At the forum, Myanmar Information Technology Deputy Minister, Thaung Tin pledged to listen to Internet users about how to achieve a free and open Internet.

Freedom House provided funding for the “Myanmar Internet Freedom Forum” initiative after MIDO won the Freedom House-sponsored Incubator Challenge in November 2012, an international competition for homegrown projects that promote, protect and advocate for Internet freedom at the local and regional level.

Freedom House Internet Freedom Program Director, Danilo Bakovic, called the forum’s discussions crucial for the burgeoning Information Communications Technology (ICT) sector in Burma. “We congratulate MIDO on convening this timely discussion around the advancement of human rights for Internet users in Burma and reform of national telecommunications laws,” Bakovic said. “We hope to see the forum turn into an annual event.”

Burma’s young ICT sector developed in a climate of fear and self-censorship under the military junta, and media practitioners, policymakers and human rights advocates in Burma often lack sufficient understanding about the rapidly-shifting ICT landscape and the implications for user rights and freedoms.

Watch Freedom House’s video remarks for the forum:

The forum, which took place on June 1, addressed topics of Internet freedom and Internet governance in Burma, including access, digital security, censorship, cyber laws, and human rights. The following day, MIDO welcomed 35 participants from different regions of the country for workshops on Internet censorship monitoring and drafting a “netizen” statement on Internet freedom.

In addition to the Myanmar Internet Freedom Forum, MIDO will conduct an assessment of Internet censorship in Burma as part of the Freedom House-supported project.

Visit MIDO’s forum Facebook page for more information.

Freedom House will continue its collaboration with MIDO in support of the group’s initiatives to raise awareness about the importance of a free and open Internet, to promote and protect digital rights, and to build a network of stakeholders who advocate for Internet freedom in Burma.

Burma is rated Not Free in Freedom in the World 2013, Freedom House's survey of political rights and civil liberties, and Not Free in Freedom of the Press 2013 and Freedom on the Net 2012.

To learn more about Burma, visit:

Freedom in the World 2013: Burma



Freedom of the Press 2012: Burma



Freedom on the Net 2012: Burma



Blog: Freedom at Issue

Video: Freedom House Remarks: Myanmar Internet Freedom Forum

Myanmar Internet Freedom Forum Facebook Page

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Freedom House is an independent watchdog organization that supports democratic change, monitors the status of freedom around the world, and advocates for democracy and human rights.

Join us on Facebook and Twitter (freedomhousedc). Stay up to date with Freedom House’s latest news and events by signing up for our newsletter and our blog.