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Journals suspended for Suu Kyi reports

Chiang Mai (Mizzima) – A Rangoon sports journal and eight news publications have been suspended by the junta’s censor board over their coverage of the pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi’s release, editors said.

The Press Scrutiny and Registration Divisions (PSRD) suspended the prominent First Eleven sports and Hot News journals for two weeks, and Myanmar Newsweek, Snapshot News, Myanmar Post, 7 Day News, Venus News, People’s Era and The Voice, for a week.

“The junta’s censorship board did not want the journals to report fully the news about Aung San Suu Kyi’s release. But the journals ran special features … and used pictures of Aung San Suu Kyi that were larger than the size specified as allowable by the junta,” a news editor in Rangoon told Mizzima.

If the journals wanted to print Suu Kyi’s photos, the pictures were limited to a maximum of two x three inches (5.08cm x 7.62cm) and were banned from either the front or back covers.

The suspensions started this week as the PSRD posted a notice in its office on Sunday morning after its board had warned editors-in-chief late last Friday.

“The censorship board did not say that Aung San Suu Kyi’s photos were not allowed to be printed … Our journal published five pictures of Aung San Suu Kyi with a huge crowd of her supporters, however, the PSRD censored those pictures,” an editor of a suspended journals told Mizzima.

Because of the popularity of articles about Suu Kyi’s release, the journals had to double their circulation. Some hawkers sold just the pages that contained her photos, another local news editor told Mizzima.

First Eleven sports journal splashed the headline “SUNDERLAND FREEZE CHELSEA UNITED STUNNED BY VILLA & ARSENAL ADVANCE TO GRAB THEIR HOPE” for its November 16 issue. The bright-red text read “Su … free … unite … and … advance to grab the … hope”, an editor at the journal confirmed.

The message was very popular among young Burmese, he said.

A news editor at another journal that had also been suspended told Mizzima: “Because of the suspension, all of the news reports we had compiled for the whole week were entirely wasted and we suffered losses as a result.”

“Burma has not had press freedom for a long time but we thought that we’d have comparatively improved press freedoms after the election. But … the suspensions … have revealed the reality,” he added.

Last Updated ( Tuesday, 23 November 2010 14:59 )  

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