While it is easy to over-estimate the role of electronic social media in the recent wave of revolutions challenging and sometimes toppling authoritarian leaders, Facebook and other such sites still can be useful organizing tools of varying importance from country to country. Democracy advocates in Burma have now set up their own Facebook page to emulate what happened in Egypt. This from The Irrawaddy:
In an attempt to emulate the democratic revolution in Egypt that was sparked by a Facebook campaign, a group of Burmese activists operating inside the country have set up a Facebook page dubbed “Just Do It Against Military Dictatorship.”You can read the entire article in The Irrawaddy here.
The social networking campaign denounces the country's military dictatorship, calls for Burmese military chief Snr-Gen Than Shwe and his family to leave the country and urges the army to join with the people.
The campaign began on Feb. 13—just two days after Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak resigned from office under pressure from protesters.
The Facebook page, now known simply as “JD,” has prompted the distribution of anti-government material in a number of places across Burma and raised security levels in Rangoon.
Facebook is the second most popular site after Gmail among the estimated 400,000 Internet users inside Burma. Twitter, the micro-blogging website, is banned in the country.
Due to the limited access to the Internet for many people inside Burma, it remains uncertain how much further the Facebook campaign can go. But the Burmese authorities, notorious for brutal repression against any form of dissent, have apparently heightened security in Rangoon.
Rangoon residents said they saw anti-riot police trucks driving around the city center on Wednesday morning, although this is not unusual and there is no confirmed link between the security measures and the Facebook campaign.
The Burmese state-run media made no mention of the protests in North Africa and private journals were restricted in reporting the news.