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Leaked Suu Kyi speech posted on Internet

(Mizzima) – The Internet was overflowing with leaked portions of the speech Aung San Suu Kyi is scheduled to deliver to Burmese citizens on Wednesday over state-run television.

Aung San Suu Kyi in the studio of state-run MRTV in Naypyitaw recording her speech to be broadcast on Wednesday. Photo: YouTubeThe video was posted on YouTube, Facebook and several websites and was quickly picked up on newspapers websites across the world.

Repeating familiar themes from recent speeches on the campaign trail, Suu Kyi still made critical remarks about the newly elected government and the pace of change in Burma.

Recorded in the studio of  state-run MRTV, she sat at a desk with her hands folded in front of her. An NLD flag dominates the wall behind her and a small NLD flag sits on the desk. 

Her remarks, tame by western standards, were never the less a step forward for Burma, which has repressive prior censorship of political speech in broadcast and print media. All political parties running in the April 1 by-election were invited by the government to make speeches to be delivered over state TV and radio.

Suu Kyi called for repealing repressive laws, ensuring the judicial system is independent, allowing full freedom of the media and expanding the network of social assistance to include legal aid. She also called for amending the 2008 Constitution, which gives the army 25 per cent of the parliamentary seats, allowing the ruling government to control key votes.

However, repeating a theme in her campaign speeches, she called for military personnel to play a constructive role in leading the people toward real democracy.

“According to Myanmar's political history, I believe that the military must play a role for the development of the country,” she said. “I also believe that the military, which was founded by my father, Gen. Aung San, is always ready to serve in the interest of the country.”

On Thursday, Mizzima reported that the authorities ordered one paragraph of Suu Kyi’s prepared speech to be cut, a section that discussed Burma’s laws being used to repress people’s freedoms. Burma has strict prior censorship laws regarding political speech.

“I had to submit my speech ahead of time and one paragraph was censored,” Aung San Suu Kyi said in an interview. “The part about how there wasn't rule of law and the military government had repeatedly used the law to repress the people – that is censored.”

Suu Kyi is running for a seat in Parliament in the by-election, along with 47 other NLD candidates. 

She has encountered numerous obstacles from state authorities during her campaign trips across the country. On February 14, NLD officials held a press conference to discuss various incidents, including the NLD’s failure to find a large venue in Mandalay to hold a mass rally on February 4 and 5, after various authorities rejected NLD requests for venues. The NLD had to postpone the planned Mandalay campaign tour and reschedule it for early March.

It also applied to hold a mass rally in a sports area in Pyapon in Irrawaddy Region on February 17, but the Ministry of Sports refused permission. The rally was held on a sand dune on the outskirts of Pyapon, where an estimated 40,000 people heard her speak. The sports ministry also refused access to a football ground in Hlegu Township in Rangoon Region on February 15. After publicity, the UEC overruled the ministry decision and permission was granted to hold a rally on the sports field.

Western governments are closely watching the election for signs that it is not free, fair and transparent. High-level Burmese officials have repeatedly said that the April 1 election would be free and fair, but numerous incidents have shown that the NLD is fighting a battle just to get its message out to the public.
Last Updated ( Tuesday, 13 March 2012 21:46 )  

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