The Myanmar military has been blocked from livestreaming MRTV broadcasts by Dacast, a live streaming and video hosting company, based in California.
MRTV is a national broadcaster controlled by the illegitimate Myanmar military junta, under its information ministry, and had been using Dacast to livestream broadcasts on its new MRTV website and mobile apps.
The Myanmar military uses MRTV to disseminate hate speech and disinformation.
Justice For Myanmar contacted Dacast warning about the Myanmar military’s use of their software. A Dacast representative replied, “We had no prior knowledge of the customers use case and will investigate the issue thoroughly. If it breaches our terms we will take action.” Dacast declined to comment further.
Hours later, the livestream on the MRTV website and apps displayed the message, “The broadcaster of this content has been blocked”.
Dacast’s Terms of Service allow for immediate termination of service without notice, when used for illegal purposes, to violate the rights of a third party and for other legal or regulatory reasons.
The MRTV website and apps were first launched by war criminal Min Aung Hlaing on May 4, 2022.
Justice For Myanmar publicly called out the Iowa-based company, Apps Web Social LLC, which had published the MRTV apps on the Apple App Store and Google Play in May. They were removed from the App Store and Google Play on May 5, and the website was taken down.
The website has since been republished under a new domain, and the apps are again available in the Apple App Store and Google Play.
The registrar for the junta’s new domain name, mrtv-media.com, is GoDaddy.com, also a US company.
MRTV continues to publish on Twitter and Telegram.
The illegal junta’s State Administrative Council (SAC), which has control over MRTV, is sanctioned in the US, raising questions over whether tech companies are compliant with US sanctions.
The junta’s former information minister, Chit Naing, was sanctioned by the US on July 2, 2021, shortly before he was replaced by Maung Maung Ohn.
MRTV is banned from Facebook, as part of a ban against the Myanmar military and its businesses.
Justice For Myanmar spokesperson Yadanar Maung says: “We welcome Dacast’s swift action when notified that the illegitimate Myanmar military junta, a terrorist organisation, was using their software to spread hate speech and disinformation.
“It is deplorable that companies including Apple, Alphabet, Cloudflare, GoDaddy, Telegram and Twitter continue to do business with the Myanmar military and allow its junta to use their technology against the people of Myanmar.
“The junta targets human rights defenders, journalists and democracy activists with total impunity. More than 2,000 people have been murdered by the junta, with over 14,000 arrested, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners. Its deliberate attacks against the people, indiscriminate airstrikes, shelling, rape and torture amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity.
“We call on tech companies to act swiftly, in accordance with their global human rights responsibilities, and ban the Myanmar military and its businesses, including MRTV and the military’s mobile operator, Mytel.”
See our press release, US tech firms enabling Myanmar junta propaganda