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Journal condemns Magway flood reporter’s detention

New Delhi (Mizzima) – The editor of a weekly news journal based in Rangoon yesterday condemned the arrest of a cadet reporter for taking photos of flood damage in Magway Division in central Burma.

Police detained Aung Thu Nyein, 28, an intern for Weekly Eleven Journal, while he was taking photos of fallen trees and flooding that had hit Magway on Monday evening. The officers seized his camera, deleted its photos and told him to report to the township chief’s office in the compound of Magway Police Station No. 1 the following day.

“Magway is the capital of Magway Division so this kind of incident shouldn’t happen, which is why we’ve complained,” the journal’s managing editor, Wai Phyo, said. “If they continue to detain him, we’ll take legal action against them.”

The Eleven Media Group sent two senior editors to Magway that day to handle the case and Aung Thu Hein had been detained until that time, Wai Phyo told Mizzima yesterday.  “We have informed Myanmar [Burma] Writers’ and Journalists’ Association about the case”, he added.

Weekly Eleven reported on its website that the intern and one of the ward Peace and Development Council members had on September 14 visited the office of the township’s chief, who told him to sign a pledge against taking any more photos.

Aung Thu Nyein was told he must sign the pledge in front of two witnesses, who must be members of the ward Peace and Development Council, so he needed one more witness and to inform his employer, so he returned home, the journal reported.

He later returned to the office to refuse to sign the pledge, but the township chief was absent. He again returned to the office on Wednesday and was told he would be detained until he signed the pledge, which listed four demands, the journal said.

An editor from a prominent journal based in Rangoon told Mizzima there were many such cases in which reporters’ cameras were seized and their photos deleted.

“However, the reporters were not detained, but their cameras were seized,” the editor said. He added that: “Aung Thu Nyein is a reporter from a journal that publishes in Burma legally so the journal can report as much as the censor board allows. This is an ugly case. It should not happen, especially at the current period.”

Mizzima tried to contact Magway Police Stations No. 1 and No. 2 to ask about the detention of Aung Thu Nyein, but officers refused to provide any information.

Last Updated ( Friday, 17 September 2010 01:59 )  

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