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Myanmar’s Rohingya Muslims Look to the Internet for Justice

The Rohingya are fighting state-sponsored media with their own independent channels of communication.

A video posted to Facebook earlier this month shows Buddhist officers from the Myanmar Police Force beating two Muslim detainees. Since an October 2016 attack on a police station by purported Islamist rebels, the Myanmar Army has targeted Muslim civilians by bombing villages, burning homes, expelling internally displaced people, immolating children, massacring men, and raping women. The video challenged the Myanmar government's claim that such persecution was just a safety measure. For the targeted civilians, the internet has come to mean life or death. Internet activists often champion the idea that the World Wide Web can catalyze democratic change. And the Rohingya, a persecuted Muslim minority community in Myanmar (the Southeast Asian country also called Burma) have taken this message to heart. They hope that the internet can spread word of their plight, but censorship, fake news websites, and propaganda make it hard to convey the right message. Most of the world's one-to-two million Rohingya, Myanmar's largest Muslim community, live on the country's western coast in Rakhine State. They live alongside the people who inspired its name: the Rakhine are Buddhists like the majority of Myanmarese, and they consider the Rohingya illegal immigrants from Bangladesh. But the Rohingya argue that their families have lived in the lands that compose Rakhine State since the 1800s, tracing their ancestry to Arab explorers. Read more on Motherboard