Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Journalists doubts effectiveness of sanctions on Burmese State-run media

by Nem Davies
Tuesday, 18 August 2009 12:27

New Delhi (Mizzima) - Journalists in Burma doubts the effectiveness of the European Union (EU)’s inclusion of four Burmese state-run media in their updated list of sanctions.

In the updated list of sanctions on August 14, the EU included the names of officials working at the New Light of Myanmar Newspaper (Burmese & English versions), the Mirror, the Myanmar TV (MRTV) including Myawaddy TV channels and the Myanmar Movies.

The EU list also included the names of the judges and officials responsible for sentencing pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi on August 11. The restrictions imposed ban on the individuals to travel to European countries and freezing of their assets in foreign countries.

But journalists in Burma doubts the effectiveness of the sanctions as officials working at the state-run media are hardly making any profits and are rarely makes trips to any European countries.

“I don’t believe in sanctions. The inclusion of Myanmar Periodicals Corporation is done out of ignorance,” a Rangoon based journal editor told Mizzima.

“I think the sanction is missing the target. They should target business entities owned by family members of the military generals including their sons and daughters and their cronies,” the editor added.

Besides, another editor of a Journal in Rangoon remarks that journalists in Burma are often forced used as part of the junta’s propaganda as the journalists cannot resist the junta’s orders.

“There are many journalists in the private media, who have a good rapport with government officials. But at the same time no private journals can resist their command. We have to follow their dicktats though we resent it,” he added.

A veteran journalist remarks that the media environment has been controlled by the junta and no journalists can resist the orders saying the blame is not on the journalists but on the junta’s system.

“The state owned media will continue to be the machinery for state propaganda. They have been constituted only for being the state’s propaganda machinery. It is part of the junta’s tactic of ‘Counter media with media’,” he added.

Meanwhile, exiled based Burma Media Association welcome the EU’s updated list of sanctions saying they should have included the Burmese Censorship Board in the list and ban travel to those working at the censorship board.

San Moe Wai, Secretary BMA, said, “The EU should include the Censor Board in their sanctions list. They violate press freedom and control freedom of speech. The EU should also ban their travels.”

He said, by putting the state owned media in the list, it also serves as a warning to other private media. Moreover, the sanction will also impose restrictions on the junta’s mouthpiece media.

The EU sanction was first imposed on the junta in 1996 and it is renewed every year. This new renewal will expire on 30 April next year.

Moreover EU has imposed economic sanctions on 40 businesses ventures owned by the military regime and its private partners.

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