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Myanmar’s state TV goes off air over ‘communication problems’, phone & Internet services limited amid apparent coup

State-run Myanmar Radio and Television (MRTV) reported early Monday morning local time that it could not stick to its regular programming schedule due to ongoing and unspecified “communication difficulties.”

This came shortly after spokesman for Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy party announced that she and a number of other senior civilian officials had been apparently detained by the military.

“With the situation we see happening now, we have to assume that the military is staging a coup.” NLD spokesman Myo Nyunt said, as cited by AFP.

There have been unconfirmed reports in the media that the military took over the channel.

Multiple reports on social media suggested that phone networks have suffered wide-ranging outages.

The Myanmar Times reporter John Liu tweeted that mobile internet and phone lines appeared to have been disrupted. 

“Now mobile internet and phone lines are cut, only home wifi and military-operated phone line working. Having a hard time reaching my colleagues in Yangon,” he tweeted.

NetBlocks, a non-government organization which tracks Internet disruptions and shutdowns, reported a plunge in connectivity levels in Myanmar on Monday morning, saying that they dropped to some 50 percent of “ordinary levels” as of 8.00 a.m local time.

The communication problems are taking place amid reports that a spate of high-ranking civilian officials have been detained by the military.

The government of Suu Kyi, who has been de-facto civilian leader of the country since 2015, is at loggerheads with the powerful military, known as the Tatmadaw, over the result of the November general elections that the NDL won in a landslide. Tatmadaw alleged widespread fraud, and demanded the electoral commission review the results. On Thursday, the electoral board, however, poured cold water on the claims, insisting the election had not been rigged.

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