Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Egypt demonstrations heavily censored in Burma

Tuesday, 08 February 2011 12:27 Phanida

Chiang Mai (Mizzima) – News relating to the people’s uprising in Egypt against Hosni Mubarak has been heavily censored in Burma’s state-run and private media.

Egyptian anti-government protesters fill Tahrir Square
in Cairo on Sunday, February 6, 2011. Behind the
makeshift barricades surrounding the square, protesters
voiced determination to stay put on the 13th day of
protests against Egypt's President HosniMubarak.
While stories about the mass demonstrations have dominated coverage in the international media for 14 days, the Burmese government’s censorship department under the Ministry of Information has severely restricted what Burmese citizens can read or see.

“Photos about the news are not allowed’, said the editor of a private journal in Rangoon. “But, we can publish a little news with tight restrictions. We are not allowed to use phrases such as “trying to overthrow the dictatorship”. We cannot report about the riots. But, we can report about the discussion between Mubarak and the opposition. And the news about the uprising, we are not allowed to display it on the covers’.

Another editor told Mizzima, ‘We were not allowed to call it a mass political movement’. 

The state-run media in Burma have not used any stories about the daily demonstrations in Egypt.

A private journal editor told Mizzima, ‘We want to give the people comprehensive information, but our articles are heavily censored and we have guilty consciences’.

Egyptian Vice President Omar Suleiman met with opposition leaders on Monday, including the banned Muslim Brotherhood. One of the issues under discussion was media freedom. 

Anti-Mubarak protestors have occupied Tahrir Square and other areas of the capital. Unconfirmed reports say that up to 300 people have been killed in Egypt as a result of the demonstrations by the anti-regime and pro-regime groups, and up to 3,000 people have been injured, according to Human Rights Watch.

Mubarak, who has refused to resign, has declared that he will not participate in the elections in August. The protestors have said that they would continue the demonstrations till Mubarak resigned.

In a BBC interview, Burmese pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi offered a message to the anti-regime protesters in Egypt on Tuesday that it was necessary to keep cool heads and strong hearts, not to lose hope and to keep up the pressure.

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