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Myanmar state TV goes off air over ‘communication problems’, phone & internet services limited amid apparent coup

Myanmar state TV goes off air over ‘communication problems’, phone & internet services limited amid apparent coup
People in Myanmar have reported issues with internet and phone services, and a state-run TV channel was forced to stop broadcasting due to transmission problems amid reports of de-facto Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi’s arrest.

State-run Myanmar Radio and Television (MRTV) reported early Monday morning local time that it could not stick to its regular programming schedule due to ongoing and unspecified “communication difficulties.”

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This came shortly after the spokesman for Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy party announced that she and a number of other senior civilian officials had apparently been detained by the military.

"With the situation we see happening now, we have to assume that the military is staging a coup," NLD spokesman Myo Nyunt said, as cited by AFP.

There have been unconfirmed reports in the media that the military took over the channel.

Multiple reports on social media suggested that phone networks have suffered wide-ranging outages.

Myanmar Times reporter John Liu tweeted that mobile internet and phone services were disrupted. 

“Now mobile internet and phone lines are cut, only home wifi and military-operated phone line working. Having a hard time reaching my colleagues in Yangon,” he tweeted.

NetBlocks, an NGO which tracks internet disruptions and shutdowns, reported a plunge in connectivity levels in Myanmar on Monday morning, saying that they dropped to around 50 percent of ordinary levels as of 8:00am local time.

The communications problems take place amid reports that a number of high-ranking civilian officials have been detained by the military.

The government of Suu Kyi, who has been the de-facto civilian leader of the country since 2015, is at loggerheads with the powerful military, known as the Tatmadaw, over the results of the November general election that the NDL won in a landslide. The Tatmadaw alleged widespread fraud, and demanded the electoral commission review the results. On Thursday, the electoral board poured cold water on the claims, insisting the election had not been rigged.

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