Burma's Aung San Suu Kyi gets internet access

Aung San Suu Kyi Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Aung San Suu Kyi wants to use the internet to stay in touch with younger supporters

Burma's pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi has obtained internet access, two months after she was freed from years of house arrest.

Technicians set up wireless broadband at her home after the military government authorised an internet connection, her staff said.

However, her assistant told the BBC that Aung San Suu Kyi had not yet used it as the signal strength was too weak.

Ms Suu Kyi is believed never to have been online.

Her assistant added that she had also been feeling a little too unwell to try the internet.

Her security chief, Win Htein, said she was "glad" to be able to go online at her home in the former capital, Rangoon, and would use the technology to contact her network of supporters, the AFP news agency reported.

She has said she wants to use social networking to contact younger people.

Black market

Ms Suu Kyi, who was under house arrest for seven years continuously until November, also had no telephone access during that time.

She first applied to a private company for internet access soon after she was released, but the request was transferred to a firm run by the country's military authorities, AFP said.

People in Burma, which has been ruled by the military since 1962, must obtain the authorities' permission to go online at home and there is a thriving black market for facilities under assumed identities.

The security chief said Ms Suu Kyi had applied in her own name for access.

Press freedom group Reporters Without Borders describes Burma's legislation on internet use as among the world's most repressive, with online dissidents facing lengthy prison terms.

Just one in every 455 people in Burma were internet users in 2009, according to statistics from the United Nations International Telecommunication Union, AFP says.

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