[ooni-talk] Report: Myanmar blocks "fake news" sites amid COVID-19 pandemic

Maria Xynou maria at openobservatory.org
Wed May 6 15:36:17 UTC 2020


In collaboration with OTF Fellow Phyu Kyaw, we published a report on the
recent blocking of 174 domains in Myanmar.

This report is available here:

In March 2020, ISPs in Myanmar received a directive from authorities to
block access to 230 websites, but this list of sites hasn't been
publicly disclosed.

Telenor Myanmar revealed that this list includes websites that are
considered to spread "fake news" around COVID-19.

We analyzed OONI measurements collected from Myanmar and confirmed the
DNS based blocking of 174 domains on Telenor Myanmar (many of these
sites are blocked on other local networks too).

The blocking appears to be implemented at the DNS level because OONI
measurements show that Telenor Myanmar returned the IP addresses of a
Digital Ocean machine hosting a block page, instead of the real IP of
the host.

Many of the blocked domains include news outlets, some of which are
based in Rakhine. Several ethnic media websites are among those
confirmed blocked.

Under the "blocked news outlets" section of our report, we compare the
confirmed blocked news websites with the Myanmar Press Council's "fake
news" list, to see how many of the blocked sites were included in that list.

As most of the blocked news websites are not included in the official
"fake news" list, transparency around which URLs are specifically
blocked (especially when they involve the sites of vulnerable
communities) and why/how they are viewed as “fake news” is essential,
particularly amid a global pandemic when access to information is crucial.

In our report, we list the full list of blocked sites in the appendix,
we share relevant OONI measurements for the blocked news outlets, and we
link to a CSV file that contains all of the raw OONI measurements pertaining
to all of the blocked sites (which can otherwise be found through OONI

Please help share this research:


~ OONI team.

Maria Xynou
Research & Partnerships Director
Open Observatory of Network Interference (OONI)
PGP Key Fingerprint: 2DC8 AFB6 CA11 B552 1081 FBDE 2131 B3BE 70CA 417E

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