New Press Regulation Further Squeezes Burmese Press

16 May 2005
Source: Southeast Asian Press Alliance (SEAPA)

Burma’s Information Ministry has laid down new press regulations which bans the use of anonymous sources in all published news reports. Mizzima.com, a Delhi-based news service run by exiled Burmese journalists, says that according to the ministry’s new rules, all sources of the news should be clearly identified, lest resulting stories be deemed unauthorised and liable for rejection and penalties.

On 1 May , Burma’s Press Scrutiny and Registration Board (PSB) suspended a weekly journal, “The Voice”, for the entire month because it quoted an unnamed source– a “falsified source”—and conveyed a “negative perspective” in a March article, Mizzima.com said.

Mizzima added that after the suspension, The Voice’s editor-in-chief, Kyaw Min Swe, was subjected to frequent interrogations by the military’s Speech Branch.

The PSB’s suspension of The Voice was in response to a complaint lodged by the Ministry of Hotels and Tourism over the weekly’s 28 March front page article. The story concerned the absence of Vietnamese delegates in Mandalay’s water festival. It quoted a statement of the Mekong Committee office but used an unnamed source to refer to the statement.

Rangoon maintains tight control over all information flowing within, out of, and into Burma.

The Southeast Asian Press Alliance (SEAPA) and other international advocates of press freedom say Burma is by far the worst and most dangerous place in Southeast Asia for journalists. Harsh laws and penalties—starkly underscored by the continuing imprisonment of journalists, writers, artists, and oppositionists—have pushed independent-minded journalists out of Burma. There is no free or truly independent news operation inside the country, and no information is allowed to circulate or be published in the country without the government’s prior approval.

——————————————————————————–

New Press Regulation Further Squeezed Burmese Press

Source: Southeast Asian Press Alliance (SEAPA)

Burma’s new Press Scrutiny and Registration Board (PSB) has banned a weekly journal, “The Voice”, for four weeks beginning the first of May for using falsified source and conveying a negative perspective in its March article.

“Mizzima.com”, a Delhi-based online news provided by exiled Burmese journalists said the ban was as a result of Information Ministry’s new press regulations which rejected all journals using anonymous sources. According to the ministry’s new rules, the source of the news should be clearly identified. The information provided on condition of anonymity will be considered as unauthorised and liable to be rejected.

“Mizzima.com” said following the ban, The Voice’s editor-in-chief, Kyaw Min Swe, was subjected to frequent interrogation by the military‘s Speech Branch that he had to turn into a monk to avoid further harassment.

The ban was in response to the complaint, lodged by the Ministry of Hotel and Tourism that the journal’s 28 March front page article was written with a bad intent and a bad angle. The story was concerned with the absence of Vietnamese delegates in Mandalay’s water festival. It quoted a statement of the Mekong Committee office but used source to attribute to it.

The ruling junta’s dismissal of powerful military intelligence chief Lt Gen Khint Nyunt as prime minister last October triggered off a major shake-up within his military intelligence unit including the PSB which he once controlled.  Several publications associated to Khint Nyunt were either closed down or their licenses suspended.

The PBS is also placed under control of Information Ministry’s Press and Publication Enterprise (PPE) Department since April. Under the new PPE-controlled censor board, sports journals are reportedly given fast clearance if they publish a full page campaign on Burmese sports and the government’s policy–“Our Three Main Duties.” But it still takes a long time ranging from two weeks to one-and-a-half year for other publications to get the censor pass.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

x Shield Logo
This Site Is Protected By
The Shield →