Burma’s Firewall Fighters
Another good report on Burma’s failed efforts to stop information getting out, from the Commitee to Protect Journalists:
Those fears are driving Burma’s undercover reporters to become more innovative. DVB’s Moe Aye said his in-country reporters now check in with editors by pay phone at predetermined times to mitigate the risk of communicating on lines that may be tapped by authorities.
In-country journalists have their own clandestine procedures. One undercover DVB reporter secretly reported on the trial of a popular political prisoner by using his mobile telephone to record the detainee entering the courthouse. Later that day, he used the Internet to transmit the footage in time to meet DVB’s production deadline.
“They say, ‘Don’t ask me how, just wait and it will be there.’” Moe Aye said. “I don’t ask, so I can’t tell you how they do it. They have their own ways.”
Although I still believe it’s important not to overstate the influence of the Internet in opening up a country and placing a brake on the brutality of regimes (Burma has shown no lack of appetite for repression, and can pull the plug on the Internet at will, firstly, and secondly information and images still found their way out even in the pre-Web uprising of 1988), it’s great to read of how young Burmese are finding ways to report on what’s going on there.