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YouTube destroys the TV channels of the Myanmar military

SINGAPORE: YouTube’s Alphabet Inc removed five military-run TV channels in Myanmar that it hosted on its platform in the aftermath of the coup in the Southeast Asian country.

“We closed a number of channels and removed several videos from YouTube in accordance with our community guidelines and applicable laws,” a YouTube spokeswoman said in a statement in response to a question by Reuters.

YouTube said the removed channels include the government network, MRTV, (Myanmar Radio and Television) as well as the military-owned Myawadi Media, MWD Variety and MWD Myanmar.

Their expulsion came during the bloodiest week yet of anti-coup protests, with 38 people killed on Wednesday, according to the United Nations, while security forces tried to crush gatherings and used live ammunition in some areas.

The military seized power on February 1, citing mass fraud in the November elections that were won by Aung San Suu Kyi’s government. The election commission said the vote was fair, but the army used the media to prove its case and justify the takeover of power.

MRTV pages were blocked by Facebook in February, while it had previously blocked Myawaddy in 2018 when it banned Army Commander Min Aung Hlaing. Now the military governor And more than a dozen other senior officials and organizations are on the platform.

Facebook has now blocked all pages associated with the Myanmar military It was banned by the junta in February.

Other social media platforms are also grappling with how to modify military content and the prevalence of hate speech and disinformation in Myanmar.

Reuters reported on Thursday that Myanmar soldiers and police are using TikTok to make death threats against protesters.

After the Facebook was banned, researchers said, the military tried to reinforce its presence on other platforms.

YouTube faced criticism from researchers and civil society groups for its relatively hands-off approach during Myanmar’s November 8 vote.

A Reuters review found dozens of channels hosted on YouTube that promoted disinformation about the elections while demonstrating either as news outlets or political programs.

Google said in December it had shut down 34 YouTube channels after an investigation into coordinated impact operations linked to Myanmar.

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