15 July 2004
Source: Southeast Asian Press Alliance (SEAPA)
Burma’s Military Intelligence (MI) has renewed a nation-wide crackdown on politically-sensitive music. According to Mizzima News agency sources, the latest target is a newly-released CD containing songs by an exiled Burmese contemporary hip hop band, Myanmar Future Generation (MFG).
On 20 June 2004, the MI arrested members and concert organisers of a new hip hop band named 9mm after they performed their first concert at the Strand Hotel in Rangoon. In addition to their own songs, 9mm’s performance featured MFG songs, according to the Mizzima News sources. The sources said the detainees were taken to an unknown MI location in the capital for interrogation. They were released on 9 July.
Meanwhile, the MI in Taunggyi, the capital of Shan State, began conducting an investigation into students who may possess MFG’s CDs. According to a 27 June Mizzima News report, the move followed a tip from MI agents in Rangoon that the CDs were secretly being distributed by a student group named New Generation.
The report quoted a student from Taunggyi as saying that the student group downloaded the songs, which contained lyrics about freedom and democracy, from MFG’s website. MFG’s songs are also being distributed in Mandalay.
Burmese dissident groups in exile are increasingly using songs and other forms of art to spread freedom and democracy messages inside the country to avoid reprisals by the military junta.
The MFG, founded in 2003, consists of 15 members living in exile. Their whereabouts and identities are kept secret for security reasons.
To listen to and download MFG’s songs, see: http://mm-fg.net
This alert was prepared by SEAPA with information from Mizzima News.
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