Myanmar democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi, who spent years as a prisoner in her own home with no telephone or Internet access, says now that she is free she is too busy to use Facebook and Twitter.
“I just haven’t had the time,” the Nobel Peace Prize winner said in an interview at her party offices in Yangon.
“If I were to tweet and so on, it would take up so much of my time. I have to confess we are a bit snowed under because paying off a debt of work that has accumulated over seven years is not done in a hurry,” she said.
Soon after her release in November, Aung San Suu Kyi had expressed a desire to use social networking sites. However, she said that for now, her party would make do with Web sites set up by its supporters overseas.
Internet connections are notoriously slow in Myanmar, whose rulers also have a history of blocking critical Web sites and jailing online dissidents.
Social networking sites were used by anti-government demonstrators to thwart censorship during pro-democracy revolts in Tunisia and Egypt.
And during a failed monk-led uprising in Myanmar in 2007, citizens used the Web to leak extensive accounts and video to the outside world, prompting the regime to block Internet access.
Suu Kyi said that an Arab-style uprising was not the answer to Myanmar’s problems, and welcomed tentative signs of political change under the new nominally civilian government.
Her party won a 1990 election, but was never allowed to take office. It boycotted an election held last year, the first in two decades, and as a result it was delisted as a political party by the regime.
However, recently the regime has adopted a more conciliatory stance toward its opponents, including Aung San Suu Kyi, who met Burmese President Thein Sein last month.
Internet users in army--dominated Myanmar during the week said they were able to see previously blocked media Web sites, including the Burmese-language version of the BBC, but doubts remained about whether the move would last.
The country’s Internet legislation has long been among the world’s most repressive, according to the Paris-based Reporters Without Borders.