Monday, 09 December 2019

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Junta continues to bug our phones, politicians say

New Delhi (Mizzima) – Wiretapping by the authorities has reportedly been on the rise, prominent politicians say, as Burma’s first national election in two decades draws near.

Dr. Aye Tha Aung, a secretary of the Committee Representing the People’s Parliament (CRPP), told Mizzima that politicians had been encountered difficulties during phone conversations because of junta wiretapping.

He said some phone exchange officials told him the tapping of politicians phones had been going on since former prime minister Khin Nyunt was intelligence chief.

“When we are on the phone, the sound level used to be very low but sometimes I hear … an echo and notice that the sound is different from that of normal phone conversations,” Aye Tha Aung said. “Our lines have been tapped since in the past and the authorities are still using illegal phone taps ahead of the election. We need to depend on the phone to contact with media.”

Sai Ai Pao, chairman of the Shan Nationalities Democratic Party, aka White Tiger Party, told Mizzima in a telephone interview that his line was also being tapped.

A media pundit from Rangoon said: “The authorities tap the phone lines of members of the opposition, businessmen, journalists and writers. In fact, they have recorded all incoming and outgoing phone calls to and from Burma”.

Many politicians inside Burma have estimated that such invasions of their phone privacy were increasing in the run-up to the national elections.

The Kachin’s last stand
Since October this year, Burma has been in a state of civil war, with fighting between Burmese military and armed ethnic rebels. The ruling junta started a crackdown on these armed groups.

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