http:// Myanmar      : A case study on Internet freedom and responsible investment in Myanmar’s emerging Telecom scene

University essay from Uppsala universitet/Teologiska institutionen


Myanmar is one of the least connected countries in the world, with an estimated Internet penetration at just over one per cent. The country was ruled by a rigid military regime for half a century, who had a firm grip on the media and brutally cracked down upon any political dissent. In 2011, in a surprise move, a process of reform and a transition towards democracy began under the leadership of President Thein Sein. As a result, foreign investment in the country’s lagging telecom sector is now emerging. This thesis is a case study that partly aims to identify the major challenges facing Internet freedom as it relates to the human rights discourse and partly explores how two foreign telecom companies, Telenor and Ooredoo, are approaching responsible investment as they enter the country.

Methodologically, the study is based on interviews, some of which were conducted during a two months field visit in Myanmar in 2013, and thorough document analysis. The research concludes that the major challenges facing Internet freedom in Myanmar are a deficit legal framework and the absence of digital literacy, which has contributed to irresponsible practices of hate speech in the online environment. Both Ooredoo and Telenor demonstrate an awareness of the complexities in Myanmar, whilst Telenor has a stronger formal commitment to respecting human rights. 

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