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Several social media platforms have been blocked in Myanmar following the military coup on 1 February. Local partners fear the move may have detrimental effects on the Burmese church. “This could be a return to the dark ages for the church in Myanmar,” said Open Doors partner, Brother Lwin. “We’ve seen totalitarian regimes blocking access to information before, we’ve seen it for decades in North Korea and China, and now with this move, Myanmar is following suit. It’s unthinkable that this is happening in Myanmar, especially after all the progress the country has made towards gaining greater freedoms. But here we are.” While the ban was expected to end on 7 February, several platforms remain shut down, leaving fellowship and communication difficult and even illegal.

“This is like a trap for the believers. It can further weaken the fellowship and communication of believers in the country,” Daisy, an Open Doors local partner, said. “In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic brought a halt to public gatherings. Churches have adapted to the changes and started online fellowship and preaching using the social media platform Facebook. With Facebook gone, online worship services will no longer be possible. “If the church organises worship services, or pastors do online preaching and broadcast it, it will be violating the government orders. Online worship services will be an illegal act which can lead to arrest. “The intention of the military is to curb ‘false news and information’ from spreading, but this action could affect Christians who are dependent on Facebook for sermons, worship, and fellowship.”

As tension continues in Myanmar, please be praying over the church. Please pray:

*  for safe opportunities for believers to have fellowship with one another.

*  for God-given peace and stability across the nation.

*  that the church will be a source of comfort and hope as the military coup continues.

Source:  Open Doors