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Censor tightens grip on Suu Kyi stories


Chiang Mai (Mizzima) – Burmese state censors are ramping up stops on publication of features on or interviews with pro-democracy Aung San Suu Kyi, on orders from Naypyidaw, the editor of People’s Era journal said.

peoples-era-journal2s1Editors of that publication and Venus journal met Suu Kyi last Tuesday. People’s Era journal on Friday submitted the transcript of its interview with her and the photo it wanted to run to the notoriously strict Press Scrutiny and Registration Division (PSRD), Burma’s state censor commonly known as the censor board. The department however told the journal that any publishing of the script would be postponed.  

“We’re not allowed to publish the interview and also can’t print it in our upcoming issue,” Pe Myint told Mizzima. “Our script is more than one page long but we had to remove the whole interview.”

The interview intended for print in Thursday’s issue of the journal was to be replaced with other news reports, Pe Myint said. 

Meanwhile, the editor of Venus journal said the censor board had also blocked indefinitely its publishing of features on Suu Kyi, who the junta released last month after seven consecutive years under house arrest on trumped up charges.

“We wrote a news story about her but the censor board said its publication was to be postponed. I don’t know when we can publish the story,” the editor said.

The 7 Day News and The Voice, which were suspended for a week last month for their coverage of Suu Kyi’s release, were given 30 minutes to conduct interviews with Suu Kyi on Friday. A 7 Day News editor said the PSRD’s decision would depend on the style of the journal’s coverage.

“Even though other journals were not allowed, we have submitted the transcript of our interview with her. The censor board’s decision will depend on how we present the story,” the editor told Mizzima.

A sports journal and eight news publications including 7 Day News, The Voice, People’s Era and Venus journals have been suspended by the junta’s censor board over their features on the pro-democracy leader.

The board has also issued edicts limiting the size of Suu Kyi pictures to a maximum of two x three inches (5.08 centimetres x 7.62 centimetres) for publication in journals and banned their printing on front or back covers.

Prominent journalist and National League for Democracy (NLD) leader Win Tin expressed his respect for his colleagues efforts in making Suu Kyi’s voice heard despite strict junta censorship.

“Overall, the news about Aung San Suu Kyi and the NLD is not allowed to be published and the authorities are holding grudges against any journals that meet her or the NLD,” Win Tin told Mizzima. “Journalists took risks to relay Suu Kyi’s messages to the public so I want to pay tribute to their professionalism.”

While international media had been free to publish all manner of news and features on Suu Kyi, it was a true shame that the Burmese junta had prevented local journals from doing the same, the NLD veteran said.

Last Updated ( Wednesday, 22 December 2010 15:44 )  

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