Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Press allowed to report with restraints in Mandalay Region Assembly

Wednesday, 09 November 2011 13:10 Phanida

Chiang Mai (Mizzima) – Seventeen reporters have been allowed to cover regional parliamentary news with some constraints during the second regular session of the Mandalay Region Assembly.

According to local reporters, they could not report news about the Mandalay Region Chief Minister’s speech during the opening session of the assembly on November 2, or the MPs’ discussions about the regional budget.

Reporters in Mandalay are allowed to cover some proceedings of the Mandalay Region Assembly. Photo: Mizzima

“They told us to go outside on the first day. That was the first time they had allowed us inside, and they seemed afraid. They said the discussions were about budget allocations. If we wrote about it, the news could be incomplete, they said, and they told us to leave,” a Mandalay-based reporter covering the assembly told Mizzima.

Two reporters from each of the Mandalay-based news journals were allowed to cover news in the assembly.

The reporters were restricted in taking photographs and videos in the assembly. However, reporters received a brief written record of questions and answers raised by MPs and discussions by ministers.

A reporter said, “The questions were not interesting. I doubt the MPs have the capacity to express what the people want.”

There are at least seven Mandalay-based journals including Shwe Mandalay, Upper Burma News Journal, Mandalay Times, Mandalay Light, Nan Myint, Mantaungyeik, and Mandalay Tite.

The parliamentary session was held at the Region Assembly Meeting Hall on 65th Road [between 24th and 25th Road]. Sixty-five MPs, 19 military representatives and one Shan ethnic representative attended the assembly.

MPs raised 16 questions and put forward five motions.

Reporters said some of the questions addressed to relevant ministers included whether new land will be granted under lease agreements; whether the road linking the Technological University and Taunggyi village will be repaired; whether a CDMA phone system will be installed in Tali Township; whether authorities would continue to collect tax on motorcycles on roads linking districts; whether flood prevention work will be conducted in Mandalay; whether the Taungtha-Myingyan Road will be repaired and whether water will be distributed to homes and student hostels around Mandalay University, which cannot get water.

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