Wednesday, February 16, 2011

News of President’s election censored in Burma

Wednesday, 16 February 2011 21:33 Tun Tun

New Delhi (Mizzima) – According to domestic media sources, the news of President Thein Sein’s election was not allowed to be published in domestic-based journals specializing in economics, arts and aesthetics.

According to Information Ministry figures for 2009,
there are 135 journals with publishing licenses in
Burma. Photo : Mizzima
The Press Scrutiny and Registration Division [censorship board] only allowed the news to be published in newspapers or news periodicals.

‘We wanted to offer this news in our economic journal, but we were not allowed to publish it’, an editor told Mizzima.

‘The censor board told us that only news journal were allowed to print such political news and not other journals.’

At a joint session of Parliament on February 4, Then Sein was elected president and Thihathura Tin Aung Myint Oo and Sai Mauk Kham were elected vice presidents.

One editor suggested that the ban reflected the difficulty of the censorship board’s dealing with what it considered sensitive information.

‘They have to make a thorough check of the news and it is a complicated process. If they made some mistakes in censoring articles, they have to give clarifications and explanations to the Information Ministry’, said a source close to the ministry.

According to the rules of the censorship board, the publishing license holders for economics, arts, knowledge and aesthetic journals are not allowed to print political news, but some journals which have a close rapport with the board are frequently allowed to print such information.

Citing one example, one editor said Modern Times journal has submitted news stories on the arts along with some political articles and published both in the journal.

‘Sometimes they were permitted and sometimes not, in an arbitrary fashion’, the editor told Mizzima.

According to Information Ministry figures for 2009, there are 135 journals with  publishing licenses in Burma.

According to a report issued by Reporters sans Frontiers (RSF), Burma is one of the five worse countries for media freedom in the world, rated  174 out of a total of 178 ranked countries.

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