Young blogger Kaung Myat Hlaing, 22, gets 12-year jail term

A man arrested last year in connection with the Rangoon bombings and later sentenced to two years’ in prison was yesterday given an additional 10 years under Burma’s draconian Electronics Act.

Courts alleged that Kaung Myat Hlaing, 22, had also been involved in various poster campaigns calling for the release of political prisoners in Burma prior to his arrest in April 2010.

But it appears that his role as an underground blogger eventually came to the attention of authorities, whom last month brought him from his cell in Rangoon’s Insein prison to stand in a closed court and hear the verdict.

A family member who spoke to DVB on condition of anonymity said that Kaung Myat Hlaing had blogged under the name of Nat Soe (‘dark angel’) following the September 2007 uprising. Authorities had been looking for him since, he said, adding that “in 2010, he was arrested under the pretext of being connected to the bombings that he didn’t have anything to do with. Continue reading “Young blogger Kaung Myat Hlaing, 22, gets 12-year jail term”

A stinging attack by John Hartigan, the CEO of Rupert Murdoch’s News Limited, labels bloggers and alternative media outlets as “political extremists”. Hartigan implies that bloggers should be jailed as they are in oppressive police states like China and Burma.

In a speech to the National Press Club, Hartigan savagely dismissed blogs as, “Something of such little intellectual value as to be barely discernible from massive ignorance.”

“Bloggers don’t go to jail for their work. They simply aren’t held accountable like real reporters….It could be said the blogosphere is all eyeballs and no insights,” barked Hartigan.

“In the blogosphere, of course, the mainstream media is always found wanting. It really is time this myth was blown apart.”

“Blogs, and a large number of comment sites, specialise in political extremism and personal vilification. Radical sweeping statements without evidence are common.”

Hartigan doesn’t seem to grasp the fact that the mainstream media is always found wanting because they habitually lie about news events and spin stories to suit the demands of their corporate owners. This is the very reason why blogs and alternative media outlets have become so popular and have eaten into the mainstream media’s audience share, because people are sick of being treated like idiots, sick of being lied to, and are desperately in search of the truth.

Indeed, Hartigan’s boss Rupert Murdoch confessed to the fact that his media empire tried to shape public opinion to support the war in Iraq In other words, Murdoch’s many prominent news outlets wantonly put out propaganda supporting the manufactured case for invasion. Murdoch admitted to this while lamenting the corporate media’s “loss of power” to alternative media and Internet blogs, seemingly unaware of the fact that the two are directly connected. continue“political-extremists”/

Nay Phone Latt hears of media award in prison

Dec 10, 2008 (DVB)–Detained blogger Nay Phone Latt has said he feels a greater sense of responsibility since being honoured by international media association Reporters Without Borders, his mother told DVB.
Aye Aye Than, Nay Phone Latt’s mother, said he had found out about the award from prison officials. “I thought he still didn’t know about the RSF award when I visited him in prison but he said he had found out about it from prison officials and had celebrated by treating his fellow inmates to snacks,” Aye Aye Than said. “He said he now has a greater responsibility since he was chosen for the award,” she said.
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BURMA: Blogger charged without evidence for upsetting tranquility during protests

Dear friends,

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has been closely following the case against a blogger in Burma who has been arrested and charged in connection with last year’s monk-led protests. The blogger, Nay Phone Latt, has been charged with distributing material to upset the public tranquility, but like in other cases of this sort there is not sufficient evidence against the accused, and he was also interrogated in army custody and sent for trial in a closed court.

Nay Phone Latt in 2007 set up a small Internet shop at his house in Rangoon. Later in the year, he was involved on the sidelines of the protests against the military government.

Nay Phone Latt was arrested at the end of January 2008 and accused of having defaced images of national leaders, writing and cartoons in his email inbox and having distributed these in order to upset the public tranquility. According to the police, in December 2007 when he went to Singapore he also met political activists and went to see the “Four Fruits” (Thi Lay Thi) entertainment troupe, whose CDs of performances he copied and passed to others, among other things.

There is as in other cases arising from last year’s protests a range of problems with the cases against Nay Phone Latt. To begin with, first the police have not presented any evidence that he had himself been responsible for distributing any of the contents that they found in his email inbox, which he had received from elsewhere, not made himself. He did not post any of them or anything else inflammatory to his blog ( Secondly, the information given by the police on events in Singapore are irrelevant to the cases that have been lodged against him. Thirdly, the entertainment troupe had up to the time that it went to Singapore had its CDs freely sold in Rangoon. Fourthly, Nay Phone Latt was interrogated and detained at an army camp, a fact acknowledged by the investigating officer in his testimony, which is a flagrant violation of the law on evidence. And finally, fifthly, the case was yet again heard in a closed court inside the Insein Prison, rather than in an open court as should usually be done by law.

Nay Hpone Latt has been charged by the same police officer that has brought the case against Win Maw for having contact with an overseas radio station (AHRC-UAC-200-2008). However, it is not only the investigating officer who is the same. The so-called witnesses of the search conducted in the two cases also are exactly the same people, although the arrests and searches took place weeks apart. The purpose of having two people act as witnesses is so that there is an independent account of police actions in conducting a search. But this police officer is evidently taking his own “witnesses” along with him to multiple searches and arrests to have them fill out the form for him as required by procedure and without any regard to the purpose of having the witnesses there.

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