Censors suspend two weekly journals

Mizzima/BURMA, 1 August – Burma’s Press Scrutiny and Registration Division has suspended two weekly journals, The Voice Weekly and Envoy, for an indefinite period for publishing speculation about cabinet reshuffles and other matters.

On Tuesday, the board informed the journals they were suspended starting next week for alleged violations of news regulations.

The board did not give specific reasons for the suspensions, Voice editor Kyaw Min Swe told Mizzima.

On his Facebook account, Kyaw Min Swe said, “I think the main reason for the action might be the latest two front page stories. One of them was about the cabinet reshuffle and the other was news about a cartoon exhibition with photos of censored cartoons and censor board members inspecting the exhibition.”

In a front-page article in The Voice on Monday, the headline was “News circulating of apparent reshuffle of five cabinet ministers.”

Kyaw Min Swe said the board’s recent actions goes against the democratic reforms in other sectors and statements officials have made ranging from President Thein Sein to members of the censorship board itself.

Recently, a representative of the government filed a lawsuit against Snap Shot for publishing a photograph of a woman who was raped and murdered in Rakhine State on May 28. Previously, the photograph had been circulated widely on the Internet.

“Not only us, but they banned other publications too, which is contrary to democratic principles and norms. Our news is not causing protests and riot, not a violation of Official Secrets Act, and not infringing on the rights of anyone. We work only for the interest of our country, good governance and clean government, “he said.

He said The Voice has been suspended six times.

An Envoy editor said the board also suspended its publication on Tuesday. He said Deputy Director General Tint Swe of the Information and Public Relation Department, and Director Myo Myint Maung from the censorship board attended the meeting along with other board officials.

He said it seemed like the resurrection of the notorious Japanese censors during World War II.

The suspension comes at the same time that a new media law is being written which officials claim will remove prior censorship regulations and will bring Burma’s media laws up to the standards of the region.

The censorship board warned the Venus and Yangon Times journals in July that they could have their publication licenses revoked after they reported information about the hospitalization of retired Vice Senior General Maung Aye. [from Mizzima News]

Rangoon (Mizzima) –