The boss of Google has urged Burma’s government to allow private businesses to develop the country’s poor telecommunications infrastructure, emphasising the importance of competition and free speech.
“Try to keep the government out of regulating the internet,” Eric Schmidtsaid to a round of applause from a group of students at a technical university in Rangoon. “The answer to bad speech is more speech. More communication. More voices,” he said. “If you are a political leader you get a much better idea of what your citizens are thinking about.”
Schmidt said the internet could help cement political and economic opening in Burma, which has undergone rapid changes since the reformist president Thein Sein took office in 2010 after decades of direct military rule. “The internet will make it impossible to go back,” he said. “The internet, once in place, guarantees communication and empowerment becomes the law and practice of your country.”
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