Burma: “Kenji Nagai Award” or an Encouragement towards journalists under junta’s oppression

Mon, 2009-02-23 02:35
By Zin Linn

Burma Media Association will have to launch its sixth annual conference (from 21 to 23 February 2009) in Chiang Mai. The association was formed in 2001by exile Burmese journalists and writers based in various countries. This year there will be a special event of delivering “Kenji Nagai Award” to an imprisoned female journalist in Burma.

The first award commemorating slain Japanese video journalist Kenji Nagai will be presented in the Burma Media Conference to a female reporter who reported about an area of the country that was devastated by Nargis cyclone last year. Last October, the media association made a proposal to set up the memorial award to Nagai’s parents through APF News in Japan — with which the Japanese journalist had a contract — and the parents gave their consent to the idea.

Eint Khaing Oo, a 24 year old female journalist from Eco-vision journal, was arrested on 10 June 2008, while covering about a peaceful rally initiated by Nargis victims. Police accused her of taking photos of the victims with an intention of sending those pictures to foreign-media. She was charged under the Criminal Code section 505 (b) and 124 (a) of crime against public tranquility and sentenced to 2 years imprisonment. According to her lawyer Khin Maung Shein, she didn’t commit any crime under this section. Eint Khaing is a reporter and she was doing her job. And the news was not based on untrustworthy data and she didn’t send fictitious news to other news agencies. She is now in the notorious Insein Prison.

Burma was at the forefront of press freedom in Southeast Asia before 1962 military coup. The country enjoyed free press without censorship. As many as three dozen newspapers, including English and Chinese dailies, existed between 1948 and 1962 under civilian government. Even the prime minister’s office never closed for the journalists in those days. There were also freedom to set up relation with international press agencies.

The situation changed in 1962, when the military seized power. All newspapers were nationalized by the junta led by Gen. Ne Win. It established a Press Scrutiny Board (PSB) to enforce strict censorship on all forms of printed matter including advertisements and obituaries. Since then, military junta’s censorship and self-censorship are commonplace in Burma and these have severely restricted political rights and civil liberties.

Press Scrutiny and Registration Division (PSRD) is a major oppressive tool of the incumbent military regime. Not surprisingly, Burma stands downgraded from a free state to a prison state. All news media in Burma are strictly censored and tightly controlled by the military — all daily newspapers, radio and television stations are under supervision of the junta. Whatever some privately-owned journals and magazines are there, they are strictly under the PSRD scanner. No printed matter can bring out without PSRD permission.
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Burma nears high noon and still the UN falters-As a general election approaches, the world has no clear objective on how to deal with the junta

Over this weekend Burmese authorities began to free prisoners from Rangoon’s notorious Insein prison under a government amnesty for 6,313 inmates nationwide. No one is certain how many of the 2,000-plus political prisoners would be released but it is clear that opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi and her deputy Tin Oo, both of whom have been under house arrest since mid-2003, have been excluded from the amnesty.
Incidentally, Tin Oo’s prison term was extended by a year on the eve of the arrival of UN Rapporteur on Human Rights Tomas Ojea Quintana on February 14. A slap in the face to the UN would be an understatement.

The development came a day after UN envoy Ibrahim Gambari had just briefed the Security Council on his recent trip to Burma.

While the release of the political prisoners should be welcomed, one should not lose sight of the fact that things aren’t always what they seem in trouble plagued Burma.

Things move at snail’s pace and whatever development may have come out of the country must be received with a great deal of caution.

Like his last two trips to the military-run country, Gambari didn’t have much to say or offer to the UN Security Council. In fact, he was harshly criticised. France’s UN Ambassador Jean-Maurice Ripert called Gambari’s report “very, very thin and disappointing.”

He said the Security Council must not legitimise elections in Burma, scheduled for 2010, unless they are democratic and ensure that the opposition can fully participate.

It wasn’t that difficult to figure out because the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon had sent him there empty-handed.

Before Ban there was Kofi Anan and his point man on Burma, Razali Ismail. Like the current bunch, Razali couldn’t make headway with the stubborn Burmese generals.

And yet, these men still keep coming and yet the world continues to use the same benchmark to determine if these visits are successful or not. Photo ops with Suu Kyi or a meeting with junta supremo General Than Shwe should not be the benchmarks for success.

Catch words like ‘national reconciliation’ and ‘democratisation’ make nice sound bytes for the international audience and community, but for the Burmese junta, they want to know what any of these issues mean for them in real terms.

To be fair to the UN, the world body has neither carrot nor stick to offer the generals. But the UN can generate ideas and in situations like this, ideas count a great deal.

For too long, the UN, and much of the international community, has been dealing with Burma without a clear objective and strategy.

We have to move beyond just telling the junta what we don’t like, and the UN must develop a more comprehensive plan of action for all stakeholders in Burma.

In other words, the Burmese generals need to know what awaits them – harsh jail terms or a Cabinet position under a civilian-led government.

For too long, regional countries and Asean members try, at times half-heartedly, to bring about changes in Burma. We use word like “Road Map” and “Constructive Engagement”, borrowing them from the Middle East and South Africa, respectively, without realising that for that in these cases, such words actually mean something.

The previous administration of Thaksin Shinawatra became a laughing stock when its Bangkok Process flopped. They were allowed to retreat quietly after the junta announced they have a roadmap for democratisation of their own. Burma’s general election is scheduled for next year and time could very well be running out for Asean and the world community if something is not done seriously.

US President Barack Obama, in his inaugural address made the world’s tyrants a proposition.

“We will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist,” Obama said.

Incidentally, it is becoming clear that Burma could be the first test case for this approach.

Since the late 1990s, the US has maintained economic sanctions against Burma. But US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, during her recent visit to Indonesia, announced a review of US policy towards Burma. She did not rule out easing sanctions or other forms of diplomatic engagement.

“Clearly, the path we have taken in imposing sanctions hasn’t influenced the Burmese junta,” Clinton said, adding that the policy of Burma’s neighbours of “reaching out and trying to engage them” has not produced desired results either.

The Bush Administration won a great deal of admiration for its tough position on Burma. But in real terms it didn’t do much in loosening the junta’s tight grip on its people or improving their livelihoods.

It’s Obama’s turn now. And by all means, Washington should conduct a policy review. But the US president must stick to what he said in his inaugural address: Relax your grip on your people and we just might extend a hand to you. http://www.nationmultimedia.com/2009/02/23/opinion/opinion_30096350.php

Most of the 16 remaining prisoners were monks detained in 2003 after rejecting a donation to their monastery from former junta member Gen. Khin Nyunt. “This is just for show,” said Tate Naing, the group’s secretary.

Miliband: I am still learning on the job

London, Feb. 22: British foreign secretary David Mili-band, who spa-rked a diplomatic row with India over his remarks on Kashmir issue, has said some times his language was not “diplomatic enough” and that he was still learning every day in this job. “Look, you learn every day in this job. You’ve got to try and take that forward. I know words matter in diplomacy,” Mr Miliband told the New Statesman.

At the same time, Mr Miliband insisted that he was simply articulating the British government’s stand because he did not believe in saying “one thing in private and another in public”.

“I’m here on this trip, to show solidarity with India (following the terrorists attacks on Mumbai last November),” he told in an interview while he was in India.

Mr Miliband triggered a diplomatic row when he wrote in the Guardian during his recent visit to India that the “resolution of the dispute over Kashmir would help deny extremists in the region one of their main calls to arms.” continue



Than Shwe family member to USA

By Thu Ye Kaung

Lt-Col Nay Soe Maung, retired army doctor and presently serves as a lecturer at the University of Public Health, Ministry of Health. He is son in law of Burma’s most notorious dictator General Than Shwe and son of retired Major General Tin Sein.

All above credentials are more than enough for him to earn special privileges above others as now he is preparing to go to Harvard University. Accompanying him is Dr. Tin Min, Rector of same department and now they are preparing necessary documents to apply visa in US Embassy, Yangon. We wonder whether US Embassy and Government have no knowledge of their back ground or just ignore to please the junta and dictator of the most human rights abuser.

Lt-Col Nay Soe Maung is the father of notorious Nay Shwe Thway Aung (a) Pho La Pyae and husband of Kyi Kyi Shwe (a) Ma Aw. Now Kyi Kyi Shwe is the preferred mistress of Tay Za ( Htoo Trading and AirBagan ). Nay Soe Maung is also famous for his homosexual activity and he is openly declaring his status as gay. With all that good reputation, he will represent Burma and grab a chance to study in Harvard with help from the US Government.

Is the US Government already abandoning the Human Rights issue and collaborating with the dictator?

Original Source: Prosaic Collection in Burmese with photos


FBR REPORT_In the midst of suffering and oppression by the dictators of Burma, there is also good news. This is true all over Burma, and as we traveled through Karen State on this last mission

Karen State, Burma
21 February, 2009

In This Report

Tenacity and Resilience of the People, and the Effectiveness of the Resistance
Two Sisters, Nas Moo Eh and Naw Rosemary, Tell their Story
A New School for a New Generation
“Before, I Would Only Die for Kachin Blood. Now I Will Die for Anyone in Burma.”
“We Are Already in Trouble Everyday…Don’t Worry for Us…You Just Keep Coming and Tell the World About Us.”

In the midst of suffering and oppression by the dictators of Burma, there is also good news. This is true all over Burma, and as we traveled through Karen State on this last mission, I was struck by how many good things are happening.

In many areas that before had been emptied of people by the attacking Burma Army, there were now re-established villages with rebuilt schools and churches.
Karen resistance providing security and moving relief supplies during road crossing
Preparation comes at two levels:
First and most importantly, the people help themselves. The Burma Army has been attacking them for over 60 years as a succession of military dictatorships tries to control everyone in the country. On their own initiative villagers make preparations. Rice is put aside and hidden in different places in the jungle. Hiding places for valuables and people, as well as escape routes, are pre-selected
Relief teams and supplies moving to areas recently under attack
The second level of preparation is from the ethnic pro-democracy resistance.. These governments represent their people and stand for freedom, ethnic rights and democracy. They attempt to protect their people, provide early warning of attacks, and help conduct political, humanitarian, social and educational programs as well as facilitating support for these needs from outside sources.

The ethnic people continue one of the most positive acts of civil disobedience in Burma. They are building up their people, culture, land and freedom.

The Burma Army is faced with both the armed resistance and with men and women and their families who do not easily give in. The story below about two young mothers who choose to live with their families in an area under direct Burma Army threat illustrate the determination, faith and ability of the people. read all


You all Heroes,thank you

Breaking News – for immediate release The Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (Burma) Prisoner released List

Breaking News – for immediate release
22 February 2009
The Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (Burma) can confirm that 19 political prisoners were released from various prisons in Burma yesterday.
On Friday the ruling military regime announced that it would release 6,313 prisoners from 21 February.

The list of released:
Myintkyina prison

Dr. Zaw Myint Maung, Member of Parliament from the National League for Democracy party, was released from Myitkyina Prison. He has been in jail since 1991.
U Pe Sein, Township organizer, Mohnyin, Kachin State.
U Naw Naw
Insein prison

U Kaythara (a) U Kyaw Min Thet
U Ingura (a) U Aye Tun Thar
U Thireina (a) U Kyaw Moe
U Marlaina (a) U Min Zaw Aung
U Ardatesa (a) U Aung Ko
U Takekanateya (a) U Maung Zaw
U Damitika (a) U Tun Tun
U Tun Zaw Htay (a) Tun Tun
U Khaing Ba Myint
U Soe
U Nandathiri (a) U Htay Ye Tun
U Sandima (a) U Zaw Min Htet
Ma Hmwe (a) Ma Kyin Haw
Ma Khin Khin Leah
Tin Hlaing
U Thet Wai (a) Pauk Sa

For more information, please contact:

Tate Naing at +66-(0)81-2878751
Bo Kyi at +66-(0)81-3248935


Breaking news: Only a few political prisoners releasedby Democratic voice of Burma

21 Feb, 2009 (DVB)–Less than 20 political prisoners so far were among the declared 6313 prisoners to be released today by Burma’s military junta, the State Peace and Development Council.

11 prisoners including Thet Wai and five Buddhist monks were released from Rangoon Insein jail, and four prisoners including Dr. Zaw Myint Maung were released from Myikyina jail in Kachin State.
“I look at it from a positive point of view. But it has become a habit of this government to release only a handful of political prisoners,” Thet Wai who was jailed for reporting human rights abuses to the International Labour Organisation said.
“Last time, they released more than 9000 prisoners. Only 9-10 political prisoners were released. Now, around 6000 are released and I think not more than 14-15 political prisoners are among them. It is a dire sign. It shows the junta has no desire to release political prisoners.”
There are more 2000 political prisoners languishing in jails around Burma, away from their families.

10 political detainees freed in Myanmar: opposition

But Nyan Win, spokesman for detained opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD) party, said only 10 of Myanmar’s estimated 2,000 prisoners of conscience were freed on Saturday.
“About 10 political prisoners including monks and a nun were released,” he told AFP, adding that four of those released were NLD members who spent about five years in jail. He did not have the details of the other people set free. continue