Following reports of internet shutdowns and other restrictions on access to information in Myanmar, IFLA’s President and Secretary General have issued the below statement. 

At the heart of the work of libraries is the conviction that access to information is a driver of rights and development.

As such, any restriction on this is a serious matter, creating harms in the short term, and leaving scars and delaying progress in the longer term.

In recent days, there have been many reports of such restrictions in Myanmar, in particular internet shutdowns, both as concerns specific services and broader connectivity.

Such shutdowns impact on the ability of libraries and their staff to fulfil their missions to support users and communities. They also – clearly – place significant limits on economic, social, cultural and civic participation.

We therefore call on the government of Myanmar to ensure that the country’s libraries are able to operate freely, in line with international professional standards, and so support their users to fulfil their right of access to information. 

In parallel, we urge all efforts to guarantee Myanmar’s citizens the possibilities to access, apply, share and create information.

Christine Mackenzie
IFLA President 2019-2021

Gerald Leitner
IFLA Secretary General

9 February 2021