Downloading the Burma uprising: Did it help?

The ruling junta cracked down on protesting monks anyway, but it knew the world was watching.When protesters took to the streets of Burma two decades ago, activists relied on fax machines to tell the world what was going on. In last month’s uprising in the isolated police state, they photographed and uploaded the demonstrations via cellphone. Images and videos bounced from Internet cafes to foreign blogs and international media, then sometimes back again to Burma (also known as Myanmar) by satellite TV and shortwave radio.The leap in technology didn’t prevent the military from choosing – as it did in 1988 – to launch a violent crackdown. But it did make it harder for the regime to act quickly and secretly, say Internet-savvy activists.

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