New Delhi (Mizzima) – Footage of clashes between Karen rebels and the Burmese Army posted on You Tube has become a hit with the Burmese online community.
The video was recorded during running battles between government troops from the 60th Light Infantry Battalion (LIB) and the Karen National Liberation Army’s (KNLA) 3rd Brigade, which took place in last year in Kyaukgyi Township in Pegu Division. It has been posted on You Tube since June 12 and has had 5,200 hits.
A person titled “Maungwto” who is living in Japan posted the video after receiving it from Saw Myo Khaing Shin, a top Karen representative in the country.
“This is my first ever posting of a KNLA battle on You Tube. Previously I posted a battle scene between SPDC and Shan State Army troops in March 2009,” Maungwto told Mizzima.
In the latest posting, seven junta troops and a KNLA soldier were killed, while two were seriously injured, Saw Myo Khaing Yan Shin said.
While You Tube was banned in Burma and internet speeds were still at dial-up-level quality, some people have still managed to download the footage using proxy servers, an internet-savvy youth in Rangoon said.
“I could watch this video clip sent by my friend with e-mail and feel sorry to see … what’s happening in our country,” he said.
IT professionals in Burma said that seeing such video clips on the Net was only possible thanks to new media, which was they said a new development for the country.
Despite tight controls on news media and the internet by the military regime, people are increasingly able to access banned information through new media such as social networking sites including Weblogs, Facebook and mail groups.
“We could receive some news, photos and information almost instantly through blogs, e-mail and Facebook,” a young IT professional from Burma told Mizzima.
Thai-Burmese border town Mae Sot based blogger Dr. Lun Swe examined the impact that Web 2.0 and other new media was having on the Burmese opposition community and those living in exile.
“The role of new media is a playing crucial role in our pro-democracy movement,” he said. “The quickest way to post Burma-related news on the internet is on blogs at home and abroad.”
Use of the new media has increased since the 2007 “saffron revolution”, when monks led nationwide demonstrations, as the Web was one of the only sources of unregulated news and information.
As the military regime tightly controls the flow of information over the internet, people in Burma use proxy servers to bypass censorship and news blackouts.
“These blogs are the earliest source of information and the government is facing difficulty in controlling them, but the quality and reliability of this type of news may be substandard,” Dr. Lun Swe said, without elaborating.