Several news journals in Burma normally subject to strict censorship rules have published interviews with members of Burma’s main opposition party, a party spokesperson said.

Opposition party gets rare news exposure
Oct 19, 2009 (DVB)–Several news journals in Burma normally subject to strict censorship rules have published interviews with members of Burma’s main opposition party, a party spokesperson said.

News coverage of opposition viewpoints is rare in country which normally ranks at the tail-end of international press freedom barometers.
A spokesperson for the National League for Democracy (NLD) party, Nyan Win, said that journalists from several weekly journals had visited him at his office and carried out interviews.
“They said they were constantly trying to get [the material] published…and sometimes it seems like they get through,” he said.
All published material in Burma is required to go through the government’s Censorship Board before being verified. The procedure can sometimes take days to complete.
“Under the censorship law in Burma, people are being punished for writing news and material not approved by [the Board]. The censorship law is an oppressive tool and shouldn’t exist,” he said.
He added that the government needs to do more than sporadic coverage of opposition views to prove that the elections in 2010 are to be free and fair. Continue reading “Several news journals in Burma normally subject to strict censorship rules have published interviews with members of Burma’s main opposition party, a party spokesperson said.”

51 groups from Burma urge Thailand to stop building dams in Salween war zones

Fifty one civil society organizations from Burma today submitted a petition to the Thai government at the ASEAN People’s Forum demanding an immediate halt to dam plans on the Salween River to avoid being drawn into Burma’s escalating civil war.

The groups cited recent increased military operations and human rights abuses by the Burmese regime around the sites of the planned Hat Gyi dam in Karen State and Ta Sang dam in Shan State, and warned that the projects would never provide guaranteed energy security for Thailand.

The regime has stepped up attacks against the Karen National Union to gain control over roads and power transmission routes to the planned 1,360 megawatt Hat Gyi dam and driven over 3,500 new refugees into Thailand since June.

Fresh fighting has also erupted in Shan State, as the regime has attempted to bring the ceasefire armies under its control as “Border Guard Forces.” Imminent attacks against the United Wa State Army, which controls the access routes between the planned 7,110 megawatt Ta Sang dam and the Thai border, would lead to a massive new refugee influx into northern Thailand.

“The Salween dams will only mean more fighting and more refugees fleeing to Thailand,” said Sai Sai, Coordinator of the Salween Watch Coalition.
Thailand currently depends on Burma’s natural gas for 12.2% of its total installed power capacity, and has recently suffered from supply interruptions. The dams would significantly increase Thailand’s dependency on Burma.

“Building dams in Burma’s war zones makes no sense if Thailand wants a stable power supply,” said Montree Chantawong of the Thai-based environmental group TERRA.

Five large dams are being planned on the Salween River in Burma, four to export power to Thailand, and one to China. The regime’s attacks against the Kokang in northern Shan State, which drove over 37,000 refugees into China in August, secured control of areas around the Upper Salween Dam, being planned by Chinese companies at Kunlong.

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Contact: Sai Sai: +66 81 0310481

Happy Birthday Ko Min Ko Naing by AAPPB

see all MIN KO NAING
Prisoner’s Name: Ko Min Ko Naing

Prison: Insein

Law Act No. : 5/96

Date of Sentence : August 22, 2007

Years of Sentence : Under Trial

Current Situation
Min Ko Naing is currently detained at Insein Prison, No. 1 cell block at Cell No. 10. At present, he is placed under solitary confinement for 23 hours and 40 minutes where he must stay inside his small cell. He is charged under Penal Code Act 4 of 5/96 Law. According to that law, he may receive a long prison term from 5 years to up to 20 years.

Min Ko Naing spent 16 years in prison. Now, he is sent back to prison again. He is 46. His Original name is Paw Oo Tun. Min Ko Naing means “conqueror of kings.” Its name comes from the 1988 people uprising. His political activities and commitments were highest in August 1988 when nationwide uprising of the people appeared in Burma. On August 28, 1988, he was elected as Chairperson of the All Burma Federation of Student Unions (ABFSU) by the first student conference since 1962.
He became an inspirational figure for his fellow students and to the people of Burma. His speeches, public pledges and poems caught the spirit of the people, and made him a leading light in peaceful opposition to the military rule. After a military coup in August 1988, thousands of students and people escaped to the border and joined with the ethnic resistance groups and started an armed struggle. But he refused to flee to safety across the Burmese/Thai border. Instead, he said that he would remain inside Burma where the students, student unions and people exist.
Min Ko Naing believed that the student movements are totally peaceful and non-violent. And as the leader of the ABFSU, he had decided to oppose the regime’s unjust and oppressive Order 2/88 by organising a “civil disobedience” movement in respect of the prohibition against people gathering in numbers exceeding four persons.
He was detained in March 1989. He was in solitary confinement in Prison without any trial and finally in December 1991, he was arbitrarily sentenced to 15 years’ imprisonment. He was released in November 2004.
In a radio interview on Nov 22, 2004, he said, “While we were in prison, they gave their support and encouragement to us; they did their best for us. We felt like a person in a winter river that catches sight of a small light far away. We did not feel it directly; we partially felt it. However, it’s enough for us. We will never forget their support. Please, give our thanks to all those who worked for us.”
In August 19, 2007, he and other student activists were arrested for their role in organizing the demonstrations.