Telenor Myanmar has complied with a government order to block access to over 200 websites.
The operator initially resisted the order on the grounds that it had been “unable to establish sufficient legal basis” for preventing access to the sites. The Ministry of Transport and Communications (MoTC) ordered the sites to be taken offline for peddling misinformation or explicit material.
Telenor however stated that its role was to “provide a telecommunications channel”, adding that it does not “and should not select or alter the content of communications” delivered via this channel.
While the operator did block access to 154 of the 221 sites covered by the MoTC directive, this was because its own assessment found them to be purveying explicit and inappropriate content.
However, Telenor has now conceded to the MoTC’s demands “after further dialogue”, with reports indicating the operator’s mobile services could be adversely affected if it does not comply. Telenor has stated that it will continue the dialogue in a bid to shorten both the length and scope of the block.
Telenor’s three rival operators in Myanmar have all followed the directive, although given that MPT is state-run and Mytel is military-run, this is perhaps unsurprising. Ooredoo Myanmar has also opted to comply, but none of the operators explained their rationale.