Several social media platforms have been blocked in Myanmar following the military coup on 1 February. Local partners fear the move may have detrimental effects on the Burmese church.
“This could be a return to the dark ages for the church in Myanmar,” said Open Doors partner, Brother Lwin*. “We’ve seen totalitarian regimes blocking access to information before – we’ve seen it for decades in North Korea and China, and now with this move, Myanmar is following suit. It’s unthinkable that this is happening in Myanmar, especially after all the progress the country has made towards gaining greater freedoms. But here we are.”
While the ban was expected to end on 7 February, several platforms remain shut down, leaving fellowship and communication difficult and even illegal.
“This is like a trap for the believers. It can further weaken the fellowship and communication of believers in the country,” Daisy*, an Open Doors local partner, said.
“In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic brought a halt to public gatherings. Churches have adapted to the changes and started online fellowship and preaching using the social media platform Facebook. With Facebook gone, online worship services will no longer be possible.
“If the church organises worship services, or pastors do online preaching and broadcast it, it will be violating the government orders. Online worship services will be an illegal act which can lead to arrest.
“The intention of the military is to curb ‘false news and information’ from spreading, but this action could affect Christians who are dependent on Facebook for sermons, worship, and fellowship.”
As tension continues in Myanmar, please be praying over the church.
How Is This Different To What’s Happening In Australia?
You may have seen that Facebook in Australia has restricted publishers and people from sharing or viewing Australian and international news content.
This has happened in response to Australia’s proposed media bargaining laws. As such, it is a commercial conflict, not discrimination or censorship – both of which are currently occurring in Myanmar, as detailed above.
While other sources, including Open Doors, have been caught up in this restriction, we are committed to continuing to share stories and prayer requests from the persecuted church with you.
Thanks for your support as we work to find a way forward, together.
Pray For Myanmar:
- Pray for safe opportunities for believers to have fellowship with one another.
- Pray for God-given peace and stability across the nation.
- Pray the church will be a source of comfort and hope as the military coup continues.
Stay updated with the latest prayer requests from the persecuted church.
*Names changed for security purposes.