YouTube has removed five military-run channels as a fallout of the recent coup in Myanmar. The coup that swept the legitimately elected government out of power has been criticized by government and organizations all over the world. Despite several threats and measures taken by governments, individuals and organizations, the military in the Southeast Asian country has refused to back down.
“We have terminated a number of channels and removed several videos from YouTube in accordance with our community guidelines and applicable laws,” a YouTube spokesperson said in a statement in response to a question by Reuters.
Among channels removed by YouTube include state network, MRTV, (Myanma Radio and Television) as well as the military-owned Myawaddy Media, MWD Variety and MWD Myanmar.
The military in the Southeast Asian country seized power in a coup that has so far attracted widespread condemnation from countries. In February, the military government went all out for social media companies. Shortly after blocking Facebook apparently to silence the voice of the people, the government again ordered that Instagram and Twitter be blocked “until further notice.”
Prior to being blocked, Facebook users had been reportedly using the platform to protest the coup. Users, according to WSJ, were using the platform to share images of themselves giving the three-finger salute that has now become associated with resistance in the region.
“All mobile operators, international gateways and internet service providers in Myanmar received a directive on 5 February 2021 from the Myanmar Ministry of Transport and Communications (MoTC) to, until further notice, block the social media platforms Twitter and Instagram,” Norwegian telecom company Telenor said in a statement per The Verge.
Prior to the announcement, Myanmar’s Ministry of Information had issued a statement a day after the military seized power. In the statement, the ministry instructed people not to spread rumors on social media. According to CNN, the ministry in the statement made available said:
“Some media and public are spreading rumors on social media conducting gatherings to incite rowdiness and issuing statements which can cause unrest. We would like to urge the public not to carry out these acts and would like to notify the public to cooperate with the government in accordance with the existing laws.”
Responding to the order blocking its platform, a Twitter spokesperson in an email per The Verge said the order “undermines the public conversation and the rights of people to make their voices heard. The Open Internet is increasingly under threat around the world. We will continue to advocate to end destructive government-led shutdowns.”