A political journal will be published for the first time on Thursday in Burma notorious for its censorship

by Phanida
Monday, 26 January 2009 21:59

Chiang Mai (Mizzima) – A political journal will be published for the first time on Thursday in Burma notorious for its censorship.

This ‘Northern Star’ journal will focus on political views, political issues at a time when the 2010 general elections are due. The editor-in-chief of this new journal will be army veteran and former government mouthpiece daily paper ‘New Light of Myanmar’ Vice Editor-in-Chief U Thiha Aung.

“Burma is heading towards democracy. We will publish this journal in the belief that it’s time to write on political issues in this period of transition to democracy. We will publish some articles written by journalists and writers which will be beneficial for the people along with reviews. Political parties will be formed soon and the organizational work of these parties will commence too. We will review the past and show the right way as we believe to the people”, U Thiha Aung said.

“It’s been 20 years from 1988 to 2008. In our country, people know something and don’t know something too. Some known facts are forgotten also. There are milestones in our history which must be recollected and remembered. We will integrate these historical facts with the up-to-date situation for public study. Our articles will be something on these lines,” he added.

In the first issue, ‘Transition to democracy’, ‘The role of journalists’ articles among others written by Maung Wun Tha, Maung Suu Sa and Kyaw Win will be included, it is learnt.

“The main aim of our publication is contribution to current journals being published in Burma. It will complement the vacuum in the current media world in Burma which lacks a political issues-centered journal. The journalists are doing what they believe. In this crucial time of 2009-2010, current general issue journals cannot fill this vacuum. We need a special political journal filled with theory and knowledge on politics, views and experiences on politics etc. We will give these articles and views to the people with an unbiased editorial policy. We have only one objective, it is for the sake of the country”, U Thiha Aung said.

But he frankly admitted that they could barely publish news and articles on detained political leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and her ‘National League for Democracy’ (NLD) party and also on 88 Gen Students. Most of the student leaders from this group are now serving long prison terms. Burma is under tight censorship popularly known as ‘Press Kempetai’ named after the secret military police during the Japanese occupation.

U Thiha Aung served in the Army in the rank of a Major from 1972 to 1991. Then he was transferred to the Ministry of Information and later became Vice editor-in-chief of ‘New Light of Myanmar’ and then was promoted to Director and General Manager. He retired in 2007.

“It’s good. Whoever publishes whatever, it should be edited in accordance with media ethics and based on true facts,” a veteran journalist-turned-politician from NLD who was released recently from prison after serving nearly 20 years told Mizzima.

The Ministry of Information issued publishing licenses for six journals and six magazines in October 2008. At least 130 weekly journals are being published in Burma with such licenses.

An editor from Burma does not have high hopes about the new journal given the situation of tight censorship. Political articles and news with foreign issues are being permitted more often than domestic issues which have undergo tighter restrictions. So he does not have much hope about the new journal, he said.

It is learnt that the new journal ‘Northern Star’ will have 20 pages and will be published on Thursday with at least 3,000 copies being circulated at a price tag of Kyat 300 per copy. http://www.mizzima.com/news/inside-burma/1601-first-ever-political-journal-to-be-published-soon.html

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