Junta bans weekly journals from pro-election media coverage
by Mizzima News
Tuesday, 22 September 2009 21:10
New Delhi/Rangoon (Mizzima) – The Censor Board has banned media coverage of the press conference held by newly formed political party, Democratic Party, Chairman, Thu Wei and Win Naing and other news related to pre-2010 elections in Burma.
The weekly journals are uncertain about why the Censor Board unexpectedly banned news of the press conference, held by two veteran politicians, who are pro-junta.
“We submitted this news to the Censor Board on Saturday, to be published in this week’s issue. They censored this news so that we had to replace it with another piece of news,” a journal editor told Mizzima.
Although they do not know which journals submitted this news to the Censor Board and why the news was censored, the journalists whom Mizzima interviewed said that they knew about it.
A veteran journalist said that he had himself decided not to cover this news. “I found the news of Thu Wei and Win Naing a little uncertain for the domestic media. Then I decided not to cover this news for fear of being censored. As I thought earlier, no journal was allowed to cover this news,” he said.
This press conference was attended by some domestic journalists; some Burmese reporters from Rangoon-based foreign media, a local military intelligence unit, a special branch of police and USDA members.
Three days after the press conference, the Bahan Township authority summoned these two politicians and warned them for not taking prior approval from them for holding this press conference, by saying that they must take prior approval from them for assembly of more than 5 people, and had to sign on a bond. This ban on the news of the press conference created repercussions among the domestic journalists, who are expecting limited press freedom after the 2010 general elections.
“We expected that press freedom would be curbed to some extent after the 2010 general elections and we could cover news on movements of political parties before the general election,” a domestic journalist said.
“This news is also the news about the pro-junta line followed by these politicians. If they ban even such news, it seems the domestic journalists must lay their hands-off such political news in future,” he said.
However, another weekly journal editor said that such a ban might be because of the non-existence of election law till date.
“I think it is because the election law has not yet been enacted and announced. I think they would like to see such news published only after the election law is announced,” he said.