Myanmar’s digital rights “leapfrog” or “dodo”?

Part 1 - Lead Organizer


Contact Person

Oliver spencer

Organization / Affiliation (Please state "Individual" if appropriate)

Free Expression Myanmar




Prefer not to disclose

Economy of Residence


Primary Stakeholder Group

Civil Society


Part 2 - Session Proposal

Your proposal is for

Main Conference (Day 1-3)

Session Title

Myanmar’s digital rights “leapfrog” or “dodo”?



Session Format

Panel Discussion

Where do you plan to organize your session?

Virtual / online

Specific Issues for Discussion

The military coup in Myanmar has had a significant effect on Myanmar’s recent rapid digital transformation. Prior to February 2021, eight years of telecoms deregulation had resulted in rapid digital growth. Many believed Myanmar was doing a “digital leapfrog” over regional peers. The annual Myanmar Digital Rights Forum (MDRF) brought together a range of stakeholders to assess and discuss the digital transformation, including concerns about access, privacy, freedom of expression, and the long internet shutdown. Has Myanmar’s digital transformation now come to a premature end? The multi-stakeholder panel will examine the status of the digital transformation and the effect of the coup. Questions will include: What digital policy changes are the military making and how are they affecting users? How are digital users changing their behaviours after the coup? How can digital rights be protected under the coup? What is the broader impact of the digital coup upon Myanmar’s economy, society, and politics? What is the role of the business community, including telcos and social media, in protecting digital rights under the coup?

Describe the Relevance of Your Session to APrIGF

Myanmar is experiencing a gross and systematic digital rights violation. Vast proportions of the population are excluded from any and all access to the internet. This discussion will raise regional awareness of the military coup’s deliberate actions to undermine access and equity in internet connectivity. It will address how stakeholders can work together to ensure that no one is left behind in Myanmar in accessing reliable and affordable internet.

Methodology / Agenda

The multi-stakeholder panel will briefly introduce themselves and their experiences in digital change since the coup. This will take up 50% of the time. The remaining 50% of the time will be open to questions and discussions from the floor, facilitated by the moderator. The moderator will welcome questions and comments from anonymous participants from Myanmar, provided that the technology allows.

Please provide 3 subject matter tags that best describe your session.

#Privacy #FreeSpeech #DigitalRights #Access


Moderators & Speakers Info (Please complete where possible)

Name Designation Organization Economy of Residence Stakeholder Group Gender Status of Confirmation
Moderator (Primary) Myanmar Civil Society Woman Confirmed
Moderator (Back-up) Myanmar Civil Society Woman Confirmed


Please explain the rationale for choosing each of the above contributors to the session.

We wanted 1) expertise on the situation in Myanmar; 2) an inclusive mixture of stakeholder groups to ensure that the discussion is multifaceted; 3) representation of women; 4) majority representation from within Myanmar.