Sunday, 17 November 2019

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Foreign journalists to cover Armed Forces Day

Chiang Mai (Mizzima) - Along with local journalists, some foreign journalists have been allowed to attend Burma's Armed Forces Day celebration that will be held in Nay Pyi Taw on March 27, according to journalists and editors in Rangoon.

An editor of a local journal said, “On March 23, Maj Tint Swe, Director of the Press Scrutiny and Registration Board invited authorized domestic journalists to his office and told them to attend the celebration.”

“The meeting was held at 1 pm. They took our ID card numbers and details in advance. He told us to send one representative from one journal. This time foreign journalists in Burma, and foreign journalists from Bangkok have been allowed to attend the celebration,” he added.

However, Mizzima is unable to, confirm which Bangkok-based media will attend the celebration.

Last year, the journalists had to pay 70,000 Kyats for travel costs, food, and accommodation to the Press Scrutiny and Registration office, but this year, the journalists have to pay 80,000 Kyats on the same heads. Last year, only journalists from media houses that have a close relationship with the junta were allowed.

Only white (or) soft yellow colour traditional Burmese  jackets are allowed at the celebration. And domestic journalists must wear black coloured traditional jackets and Burmese traditional turban at the dinner party on March 27, said another editor who attended the meeting.

Foreign journalists were allowed to attend the 2005 Armed Forces Day at Nay Pyi Taw but they were not allowed later. This year, they are being allowed again.

Sixty journalists, who will cover the ceremony, will go together by express bus tomorrow. Among them are at least 30 Rangoon-based journalists.

The journalists must register their still cameras and video cameras to the Press Scrutiny and Registration Board and only registered cameras will be allowed at the celebration.

At the celebration, journalists will be able to take photographs and videos only in allowed areas. 

Moreover, at Senior General Than Shwe’s private dinner party, only  members of the government-approved Myanmar Writers and Journalists Association will be allowed.

The Vice President of Thailand based Burma Media Association, Zin Lin told Mizzima that inviting domestic journalists to the ceremony didn’t tantamount to media freedom; the regime just intends to respond to the criticisms after the 2010 electoral laws were announced.

“Both local people and foreigners have been critical of the electoral laws. So, to respond the junta is just trying to propagate its messages via the local media,” he said.


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