What if they held a communications blackout and nobody came?

By Megan McArdle

Kerry Howley on the situation in Burma:

There has been a lot of talk about how this month's protests are distinct from those of 1988 because “the world is watching,” the Internet changed everything, and the junta can no longer contain information. That’s true to some extent, and it’s breathtaking to see video of Yangon on CNN.

But while the world may be watching, I doubt most Burmese are. The country’s communications infrastructure is incredibly limited. . . .

The flip side of this is a system of informal information networks that will be incredibly hard for the junta to shut down. It's getting more difficult for outside news agencies to obtain information as the regime cuts phone lines, but most Burmese people don't rely on those lines anyway.

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2007/09/what-if-they-held-a-communications-blackout-and-nobody-came/2012/