Myanmar youths are committed to fighting the junta’s internet shutdown, and information suppression with an explosive underground printed newsletter they are secretly distributing across communities.
According to a monitoring group NetBlocks, for over 56 consecutive days running, there has been a complete internet shutdown in Myanmar.
Recall that the country has suffered unrest since democratically-elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi was ousted in a February 1 coup, sparking mass demonstrations resulting in a ruthless security crackdown by the military, leaving more than 700 civilians dead.
Thirty-year-old Lynn Thant, certainly not his real name, began the underground newsletter and named it Molotov to appeal to young people.
“This is our response to those who slow down the flow of information, and that’s a threat to us,” he told reporters.
Thousands of readers across Myanmar are downloading the PDF version of the publication, printing out and distributing physical copies across neighborhoods in Yangon and Mandalay, and other areas.
So far, more than 3000 persons have been arbitrarily arrested by Police and soldiers since the takeover, according to the local monitoring group Assistance Association for Political Prisoners.
Close to 180 high-profile celebrities, including actors, singers, and social media influencers, are on an arrest warrant list and risk facing three years’ jail term if convicted of spreading dissent against the military.
“Even if one of us is arrested, there are young people who will carry on producing the Molotov newsletter. Even if one of us is killed, someone else will come up when someone falls. This Molotov newsletter will continue to exist until the revolution is successful.”Thant said.
The 30-year-old youth said the publication had reached more than 30,000 people on Facebook so far, and the main audience was Generation Z activists.
The newsletters are equally being distributed under the radar at produce markets.
Myanmar lived under military rule for 49 years before it transitioned to democracy in 2011.
Therefore, the country has a long history of underground publications to fight the junta’s suppression.
According to the monitoring group Reporting ASEAN, independent media in Myanmar is under threat, with 64 journalists arrested since the takeover and 33 still detained.
As part of its brutal repressive tendencies, the junta has also revoked five media outlets’ licenses.