Myanmar: Surveillance and the Turn from Authoritarianism?

Main Article Content

Karin Dean


In Myanmar, one of the longest ruling military regimes in the world (1962—2011) exerting unrestrained coercion and relying on a pervasive security apparatus, has accepted a constitution and competitive elections. The military directed concatenation of developments but especially the Constitution that legalizes a unique power-sharing arrangement between the military and the elected government, contribute to the exceptionalism but also continuing coercion of Myanmar’s military, even under the democratically elected popular government of former democracy icons Aung San Suu Kyi and the National League for Democracy. Holding that a key step in a democratic transition must involve the scaling down of state coercive apparatus, the article demonstrates how this has not been the case in Myanmar. The size, expenditure and revenues of the armed forces have been maintained, the surveillance for political and social control continues, while the spread of mobile communication devices, and particularly social media, has opened up more extensive and easier opportunities for monitoring. Subjugating the practices of surveillance to laws is not prioritized in the complex political context of multiple pressing issues.

Article Details

Author Biography

Karin Dean, Tallinn University

Associate professor / senior researcher

School of Humanities


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