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Nay Phone Latt, Burmese Blogger Sentenced to more than 20 Years

Nay Phone Latt is a young businessman named Nay Myo Latt owner of three internet cafes in different suburbs of Rangoon sentenced to more than 20 years in jail by Burmese authorities. A blogger posting mostly novel-style expression about music and Burmese youth culture and a leading member of the opposition party of Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy marked him as a target for suppression by the anti-democracy regime of Burma.

A list of ridiculous if not hilarious “crimes” that he committed according to the dictatorial regime of Myanmar formerly known as Burma was possession of a banned performance video of Thee Lay Thee a comedy skit poking fun at Burmese authorities. Talk about losing their sense of humor indeed, jailed for possessing a “seditious material” inciting people to laugh is as incredulous as it gets. Of course he was also cited for his statements that the humorless regime has seen as a “threat to state security,” yeah like having a good laugh will incite people to revolt.

Nay Phone Latt is a “grave threat,” according to Burmese authorities, started monitoring bloggers for their role in the 2007 “Saffron” or “Golden” revolution in Burma. It should be noted that bloggers had a main influence on spreading news about the demonstrations and following the Junta’s crackdown on the peaceful protesters where thousands of people were arrested. While only one blogger was arrested, it was enough to intimidate other bloggers going underground or virtually fleeing cyberspace as it became a dangerous ground in Burma under threats of arrest.

Nay Phone Latt’s (Burmese Blog) “transgression” earned him enough blogger points deserving confinement in Insein Prison near Rangoon where he is kept in very bad condition in a cell dedicated to prisoners awaiting execution. If that is not intimidation, I don’t know what is.

Failing to stop bloggers from expressing their sentiments showing the dire poverty in Burma and support for the Democracy Movement the Burmese low tech brigade decided to block blogs unfriendly to the regime but without success easily countered by technology savvy bloggers.

Hence, they decided to attack from another direction, that is, to slow down internet connection and blocking certain Burmese blogs so that the people in Burma would not be able to view them. Many well-known pro-democracy blogs were their first targets. The SPDC or the Burmese Military Regime also resorted to blogging with the intent of discrediting and attacking pro-Democracy bloggers that only insults the intelligence of the Burmese people. To further suppress internet access the military regime also restricted the usage of internet cafes by asking the users at those places to register using their identity card, filling in their personal details, keeping a log of visited sites and taking screenshots of various pages. They have also redirected pro-democracy blogs to porn sites, as if that will help in stopping the people’s desire for a regime change.

Obviously no matter how hard you suppress the truth it will always find it way to the people because they are the ones who feel the hardship on a daily basis and blocking blogger.com will not stop people from blogging and will just look for other platforms. Raising the price for internet access will probably work but now that this is all over the internet it is now time for international bloggers to pick up where Burmese bloggers left off.

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