Main Article Content
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.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Surveillance & Society uses a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.
- The author. The author licenses the article to the Surveillance Studies Network (SSN) for inclusion in Surveillance & Society (S&S), right of first publication. The copyright to the article remains with the author and any subsequent commercial reuse must be agreed by both parties.
- Non-commercial Users. SSN authorises all persons to use material published in S&S in any manner that is not primarily intended for or directed to commerical advantage or private monetary compensation, also provided that it is not modified and retains all attribution notices.
- Commercial Users. SSN retains the right to benefit from commerical reuse, in each specific case subject to the agreement of the author, and payment to SSN of a standard per-page fee (set by a vote of the Network and Editorial Board) by the Commercial User.
- Surveillance & Society supports open access archives and the free distribution of the results of academic work. Authors are encouraged to place copies of the final published version of their article in their university and / or other open access archives. We only ask that you make sure to include a link to the original published version on the Surveillance & Society website.
Amnesty International (2015). Going Back to the Old Ways: A new Generation of Prisoners of Conscience in Myanmar. London: Amnesty International.
Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (Burma) (2017). March 2017 AAPP Monthly Chronology. Mae Sot & Yangon: Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (Burma), available at: http://aappb.org/2017/04/march-2017-aapp-monthly-chronology/, accessed 12.05.2017.
Aung K. (2017). Learning Myanmar internet market 2016 and planning for 2017. Myanmar Entrepreneur, January 16, available at http://myanmar-entrepreneur.com/2017/01/16/learning-myanmar-internet-market-2016-and-planning-for-2017/, accessed 19.05.2017.
Aung K.M. (2016). CSOs urge amendment of guest registration law. Myanmar Times, August 11, available at http://www.mmtimes.com/index.php/national-news/21882-csos-urge-amendment-of-guest-registration-law.html, accessed 19.05.2017.
Aung, L.O. (2014). Jakarta Demands Clarification on Embassy Bugging. The Irrawaddy, July 14, available at http://www2.irrawaddy.com/print_article.php?art_id=3731, accessed 10.05.2017
BBC (2008). Burma 'approves new constitution.' 15.05.2008, available at http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/7402105.stm, accessed 30.04.2017.
Bünte, M. (2016). Myanmar’s protracted transition: arenas, actors and outcomes. Asian Survey, 56(2), pp. 369–391.
Callahan, M. (2001). Burma: Soldiers as State Builders, in: Alagappa, Muthiah (ed.), Coer-cion and Governance: The Declining Political Role of the Military, Stanford: Stanford Universi-ty Press, 413–433.
Callahan, M. (2004). Making Enemies: War and State Building in Burma. Singapore: Singapore University Press.
Callahan, M. (2012). The Generals Loosen Their Grip. Journal of Democracy, 23(4), pp. 120—131.
Cohen, J. A. (2015). Studying Law Studying Surveillance. Surveillance & Society, 13(1), pp. 91—101.
Committee to Protect Journalists (2016). The 2015 list of 10 Most Censored Countries, New York: Committee to Protect Journalists https://cpj.org/2015/04/10-most-censored-countries.php, accessed 12.05.2017.
the Correlates of War Project (2017). National Material Capabilities (NMC) Data Documentation Version 5.0. Available at www.correlatesofwar.org/data-sets/national-material-capabilities. Original: Singer J. D., Bremer S. and Stuckey J. (1972). Capability Distribution, Uncertainty, and Major Power War, 1820-1965. In: Bruce Russett (ed) Peace, War, and Numbers. Version 5,0. Beverly Hills: Sage, 19-48.
Croissant, A., Kamerling, J. (2013). Why Do Military Regimes Institutionalize? Constitution-making and Elections as Political Survival Strategy in Myanmar. Asian Journal of Political Science 21(2), pp. 105—125.
Ei E.T.L. (2016). NLD could draft new constitution. Myanmar Times, 22 April 2016, available at
www.mmtimes.com/index.php/national-news/nay-pyi-taw/19910-nld-could-draft-new-constitution.html, accessed 11.05.2017.
Farrelly, N., Win C. (2016). Inside Myanmar’s Turbulent Transition. Asia & The Pacific Policy Studies, 3(1), pp. 38—47.
Fortin-Rittberger J. (2014). Exploring the relationship between infrastructural and coercive state capacity. Democratization, 21(7), pp. 1244—1264.
Freedom House (2017). Freedom in the World 2017 - Myanmar, 15 April 2017, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/58ff3e1fc.html, accessed 12.05.2017.
Freedom House (2014). Freedom on the Net 2014: Myanmar, available at:
https://freedomhouse.org/sites/default/files/resources/Myanmar.pdf, accessed 12.05.2017.
Freeman, J. (2017). Free Speech Advocates Protest Myanmar Telecom Law, VOA News, January 24, available at: www.voanews.com/a/free-speech-advocates-protest-myanmar-telecom-law/3689230.html, accessed 15.05.2017.
Grundy-Warr, C., Dean, K. (2011). Not Peace, Not War: The Myriad Spaces of Sovereignty, Peace and Conflict in Myanmar/Burma. In: Scott Kirsch, Colin Flint (eds) Reconstructing Conflict: Integrating War and Post-War Geographies, Ashgate Publishing. (Critical Geopolitics), pp. 91—114.
Hadjimatheou, K, (2013), SURVEILLE Deliverable 4.4: Ethics and surveillance in authoritarian and liberal state, Seventh Framework Programme, content available online at: https://surveille.eui.eu/wp-content/uploads/sites/19/2015/04/D4.4-Ethics-and-surveillance-in-authoritarian-and-liberal-states.pdf
Hendrix, C. S. (2010). Measuring State Capacity: Theoretical and Empirical Implications for the Study of Civil Conflict. Journal of Peace Research 47(3), pp. 273—285.
Houtman, G. (1999). Mental culture in Burmese crisis politics : Aung San Suu Kyi and the National League for Democracy. Tokyo: Institute for the Study of Languages and Cultures of Asia and Africa, Tokyo University of Foreign Studies.
Huang, L.R. (2016). Myanmar’s Way to Democracy and the Limits of the 2015 Elections. Asian Journal of Political Science, pp. 1-20.
Irrawaddy (2011). Burma Forms New Intelligence Unit, 3.05.2011
Kyaw, Yin Hlaing (2009), Setting the Rules for Survival: Why the Burmese Military Regime Survives in an Age of Democratization, in: Pacific Review, 22, 3, 271–291.
Levitsky, Steven, and Lucian Way (2010), Competitive Authoritarianism: Hybrid Regimes after the Cold War, Cambridge University Press.
Lintner, B. (2017). Peace process in pieces in Myanmar. Asia Times Online, May 22, available at http://www.atimes.com/article/peace-process-pieces-myanmar/, accessed 22.05.2017.
Lone, Wa and Lewis Simon (2017). Surveillance and threats: Slain Myanmar lawyer felt 'targeted.' Reuters, Feb 1, 2017, available at www.reuters.com/article/us-myanmar-lawyer-idUSKBN15G4AI , accessed 24.04.17.
Lun Min Mang (2016). Section 66(d), the newest threat to freedom of expression in Myanmar? Myanmar Times, November 23, available at http://www.mmtimes.com/index.php/national-news/23843-section-66-d-the-newest-threat-to-freedom-of-expression-in-myanmar.html, accessed 15.05.2017.
Lyon, D. (2001). Surveillance Society: Monitoring Everyday Life, Buckingham, England: Open University Press.
Min, Win (2008), Looking Inside the Burmese Military. Asian Survey, 48(6), pp. 1018–1037.
Patel, N., Goodman A. and Snider N. (2014). Constitutional Reform in Myanmar: Priorities and Prospects for Amendment. Bingham Centre Working Paper No 2014/01. London: Bingham Centre for the Rule of Law, The British Institute of International and Comparative Law (BIICL). Available from: http://www.biicl.org/files/6781_myanmar_constitutional_reform_-_bingham_centre_paper_2014-01.pdf [Accessed: 1.04.17].
Prager Nyein, S. (2009). Expanding Military, Shrinking Citizenry and the New Constitution in Burma. Journal of Contemporary Asia, 39(4), pp. 638—648.
Privacy International (2015). The Right to Privacy in Myanmar. Stakeholder Report, Universal Periodic Review, 23rd Session - Myanmar
Selth, A. (2015). Strong, Fully Efficient and Modern': Myanmar’s New Look Armed Forces. Regional Outlook 49, Brisbane: Griffith Asia Institute, Griffith University, available at www.griffith.edu.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0008/777878/Regional-Outlook-Paper-49-Selth.pdf, accessed 15.05.2017.
SIPRI (2017). Military Expenditure Database: data for all countries from 1988—2016 as a share of GDP (pdf), Stockholm: Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, www.sipri.org/databases/milex, accessed 15.05.2017.
Smith, M. (1999). Burma: Insurgency and the Politics of Ethnicity, Dhaka: The University Press, Bangkok: White Lotus; London, New York: Zed Books Ltd.
Telenor (2015). Authority requests for access to electronic communication - country data. Available at https://www.telenor.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/Authority-requests-for-access-to-electronic-communication_04.pdf , accessed 19.05.2017
Thant, H. (2016). ‘Midnight inspection’ clause abolished by parliament. Myanmar Times, September 20, available at http://www.mmtimes.com/index.php/national-news/22620-midnight-inspection-clause-abolished-by-parliament.html, accessed 18.05.2017.
Wa L. and Lewis S. (2017). Surveillance and threats: Slain Myanmar lawyer felt 'targeted'. Reuters, 1 February. Available at: www.reuters.com/article/us-myanmar-lawyer-idUSKBN15G4AI, accessed 12.05.2017