Bangkok Desk, Apr 9 (efe-epa).- Two private television channels that have been reporting on anti-coup protests in Myanmar have been blocked, satellite TV operator PSI announced Friday, further widening the information disconnect in the country.
The Mizzima and DVB channels, which continued to operate despite being stripped of their licenses by the military junta weeks after the coup on Feb. 1, stopped being available via satellite since Thursday night for security reasons, the provider said in a post on Facebook.
However, both channels, which are critical of the military junta, are continuing their online broadcasts.
As part of the military authorities’ attempts to cut the flow of information, the military began to seize satellite television sets and antennas in some towns in the state of Mon in eastern Myanmar near the border with Thailand, Mizzima reported on its Twitter account.
In the remote areas of Myanmar, a connection to satellite television is necessary, in the absence of cable service, internet or other media, to stay updated with the news.
The military is trying to prevent reporting on the repression of protests by the security forces by restricting access to the internet, cracking down on journalists and photographers, and closing all independent newspapers in the country.
In early April, the authorities indefinitely suspended Wi-Fi being provided by internet providers in some public places, in addition to the regular night-time internet shutdowns, that have been going on for 54 nights and the cutting off of internet connectivity for mobile phones since 26 days.
The military junta also banned Facebook, the most popular social networking site in Myanmar, along with other platforms of the same company.
Print media have also disappeared since the coup, with the exception of those controlled by the military, and around 30 journalists have been arrested, including on Thursday.
Despite the repression, which has claimed the lives of at least 614 people, according to data verified by the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP), thousands of people continue to stage daily protests against the military junta.
The authorities have also arrested 2,857 people, including the ousted head of government, Aung San Suu Kyi, and have issued arrest warrants against another 500, the AAPP said in its latest report.
The military justifies its coup alleging fraud in the November elections, in which Suu Kyi’s party won by a landslide, and which were described as legitimate by international observers. EFE-EPA