Burmese journal calls Suu Kyi ‘President’(error): receives warning


The offending cover of True News that called opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi Burma’s ‘President.’


Chiang Mai (Mizzima) – Because of a grammatical error in Burmese in a headline that said, “President Aung San Suu Kyi meets,” the Press Scrutiny and Registration Division (PSRD) has issued a warning to True News (aka) the Thitsar Journal, said a PSRD official.  The error appeared on the publication’s cover.

“If the phrases are ordered wrong in Burmese, the meaning can be incorrect. That’s why we warned them. But, we did not punish the journal,” a PRSD official said on condition of anonymity. This was the first instance that a PSRD official replied to a question by Mizzima. The picture and information referred to a meeting between opposition leader Suu Kyi and President Thien Sein in Naypyitaw.

Myo Nyunt Maung, the chief editor of the journal, said the error was accidental. The journal had tried to create a short headline that was easy to read, he said.

“We just made the headline short and compact. We focused on the picture. We didn’t want the headline to be long and to take up too much space,” Myo Nyunt Maung told Mizzima.

The PSRD official said the True News Journal also received a warning regarding some differences between its manuscript submitted to the department and the information that appeared in print.

Earlier, True News Journal was temporarily suspended because of an article called  “The Responsibility of Journals.” In 2008, the journal was suspended for two weeks because it published a picture highlighting a Burmese child who was working in Thailand.

There are censorship restrictions on publishing pictures of Suu Kyi and news stories about her, but the authorities have recently relaxed some restrictions. For instance, recently local journals published pictures of the meeting between Suu Kyi and President Thein Sein.

A PSRD official said that restrictions are changing because of the media-dominated age.

“We are going with the Constitution. We make changes regarding the freedom of the press. We have to remove some restrictions because of the current media trends,” he said.

President Thein Sein said in his opening speech to Parliament early this year that the government will respect the role of media, traditionally the fourth pillar of a country and he urged publications to present information that people need to know. He said that constructive suggestions offered by the media should be respected.

Meanwhile, Lower House Speaker Thura Shwe Mann said in his opening speech on the first day of the second regular parliamentary session on Monday that suggestions and criticisms about the government by the media would be welcomed as a step in establishing freedom of press in Burma.

For the first time, journalists were allowed to attend the regular parliamentary session on the opening day of the second regular session.





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