Myanmar’s military regime has confiscated and banned the sale of PSI satellite dishes used to access broadcasts from several local independent media outlets in Chin State’s Paletwa Township and some townships in Arakan State, according to local residents.
At one ward in Paletwa, residents handed over their PSI satellite dishes to the ward administrator on Friday after the ward administrator asked them to do so the previous day, said Paletwa resident U Aung Aung.
“Because the ward administrator has issued the order, we turned in the satellite dish, writing my name on its surface. We don’t know why they have seized it. As those satellite dishes are also confiscated in other parts of the country, I think they intend to impose a news blackout,” he said.
PSI satellite dishes offer access to independent news outlets like Mizzima and DVB, both of which have provided extensive coverage of anti-regime protests across Myanmar.
Paletwa residents said they have not been able to access Mizzima and DVB TV channels on PSI satellite dishes as of Thursday.
“We local residents here have to rely on PSI satellite dishes for information as we don’t have access to the internet. We are completely in the dark now. We could not access DVB and Mizzima yesterday [Friday]. We only have access to Myawady [run by the Myanmar military],” said Paletwa resident U Sein Tun Hla.
In some Arakan State townships, police have banned electronics shop owners from selling PSI satellite dishes.
“Police told us not to sell PSI satellite dishes, and some shops had their satellite dishes confiscated. For the time being, we have kept them and are not selling them,” said an electronics shop owner in Minbya Township.
Since February 1, Myanmar’s military regime has restricted access to the internet in an attempt to impose a news blackout on coverage of anti-regime protests.
The junta’s confiscation of PSI satellite dishes in various parts of Myanmar began on Thursday, according to local media reports.