Google boss calls for free speech in Myanmar

Vol1_009Google’s executive chairman Eric Schmidt called for “free speech” and for the government to be kept out of internet regulations during a speech to students in Yangon on Friday.

“Try to keep the government out of regulating the internet. The answer to bad speech is more speech and more communication and voices,” said Schmidt.

He said that the company’s first priority in Myanmar would be to improve access to information through its search, translation and mapping applications.

Amy Kunrojpanya, head of communications and public affairs at Google, said “It’s very easy to assume things when you look at the GDP numbers, internet penetration, smarphone usage, mobile phone penetration, then when you get into the country and you catch the excitement of the people. There is a lot of potential that we can explore.”

On the eve of Schmidt’s speech, Google announced that it had launched a dedicated browser for Myanmar at This visit marks the latest step in Myanmar’s rapidly developing tech and telecoms sector. The country currently has one of the lowest internet usage and mobile phone penetrations in the world and more than 90 telecoms firms have reportedly bid for tenders for four telecoms operating licenses.

Schmidt is scheduled to meet with President Thein Sein later on Friday afternoon.