Ko Htike, a Burmese blogger now living in the United Kingdom, has been cut off from his source of images from home. Today he wrote in his blog ko htike's prosaic collection:
I sadly announce that the Burmese military junta has cut off the internet connection throughout the country. I therefore would not be able to feed in pictures of the brutality by the brutal Burmese military junta.
I will also try my best to feed in their demonic appetite of fear and paranoia by posting any pictures that I receive though other means (Journos!! please don’t ask me what other means would be??). I will continue to live with the motto that “if there is a will there is a way”.
We probably need to lobby the Chinese government or UN envoy to Burma to ask the junta to switch on the Internet. Please!"
Cutting off the outside world is nothing new to repressive regimes, which have shown an alarming ability to keep pace with communications technology. In Karaoke Fascism: Burma and the Politics of Fear, anthropologist Monique Skidmore described the power of government censorship to produce the troubling side effect of self-censorship.
The hands-on approach to destroying visual images, reducing international broadcasts to state, and destroying literary and artistic works that may contain guarded political or economic commentary is undoubtedly crude but effective. However, the long-term and ultimately more efficient result of such manual censorship involves the waves of panic, fear, suspicion, and rumor that such censorship evokes. Each time an act of censorship is witnessed or rumored, many frightened Burmese begin a process of self-censorship.