Quantcast
Connect with us

Myanmar says it ends decades of media censorship

Published

on

Myanmar said it had abolished media censorship on Monday in the latest in a series of rapid democratic reforms, delighting journalists who lived for decades under the shadow of the censors’ marker pen.

Draconian pre-publication checks – applied in the past to everything from newspapers to song lyrics and even fairy tales – were a hallmark of life under the generals who ran the country for almost half a century until last year.

ADVERTISEMENT

“This is a great day for all journalists in Myanmar, who have labored under these odious restrictions for far too many years,” said a senior editor at a Yangon weekly publication who preferred not to be named. “It is also another encouraging example of the progress that the country is making under (President) Thein Sein’s government,” he added.

Media reforms have already brought a lighter touch from the once ubiquitous censors, with less controversial publications freed from scrutiny last year.

Political and religious journals were the last to be allowed to go to press without pre-approval from the censors starting from Monday.

“For now on, local publications do not need to send their stories to the censorship board,” said Tint Swe, head of the government’s Press Scrutiny and Registration Department (PSRD).

ADVERTISEMENT

“Censorship began on August 6, 1964 and ended 48 years and two weeks later,” the former army officer told AFP by telephone from the capital Naypyidaw.

One exception is film censorship which remains in place, an information ministry official told AFP. Television journalists for their part “self censor” by asking for instructions about sensitive news, he added.

Since taking office last year, former general Thein Sein has overseen a number of dramatic changes such as the release of hundreds of political prisoners and the election of opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi to parliament.

ADVERTISEMENT

Reporters jailed under the junta have also been freed from long prison sentences, and the decision to abolish censorship was greeted with sighs of relief in newsrooms around the main city Yangon.

“As a journalist, I’m glad that we don’t need to send our stories to the scrutiny board,” Nyein Nyein Naing, an executive editor at 7 Day News journal, told AFP.

“We have worried for many years and it’s ended today,” she said, but noted that the media could still get into trouble after publication if their content is deemed by the authorities to undermine the stability of the state.

ADVERTISEMENT

A more open climate has already seen private weekly news journals publish an increasingly bold range of stories, most notably about opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, whose very name was taboo in the past.

But both the media and the authorities are still adjusting to the new era of openness.

Two journals were recently suspended for a fortnight for prematurely printing stories without prior approval from the censors, prompting dozens of journalists to take to the streets in protest.

ADVERTISEMENT

And the mining ministry is suing a weekly publication which reported that the auditor-general’s office had discovered misappropriations of funds and fraud at the government division.

Earlier this month the authorities announced the creation of a “Core Press Council” including journalists, a former supreme court judge and retired academics to study media ethics and settle press disputes.

[image via Agence France-Presse]

ADVERTISEMENT

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and legal efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. And unlike other news outlets, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from billionaires and corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

We need your support to keep producing quality journalism and deepen our investigative reporting. Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Invest with us in the future. Make a one-time contribution to Raw Story Investigates, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click to donate by check.

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

We need your support to keep producing quality journalism and deepen our investigative reporting. Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Invest with us in the future. Make a one-time contribution to Raw Story Investigates, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you.



Report typos and corrections to: [email protected]. Send news tips to: [email protected].
READ COMMENTS - JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Continue Reading

Breaking Banner

WATCH: Trump’s collusion with Russia is now a topic for impeachment — along with obstruction and racism

Published

on

President Donald Trump's interactions with Russia are now a topic of the impeachment investigation.

"There was an important development in support for impeachment proceedings in the House of Representatives today," MSNBC anchor Lawrence O'Donnell reported Tuesday. "Important both in who the new support comes from and what that support is based on."

"Congresswoman Lauren Underwood of Illinois is one of the freshmen Democrats who flipped a Republican district last year in winning her election. She brings the total number of House Democrats supporting impeachment now to 126 -- a majority of the Democrats' 235 members of the House," he explained.

Continue Reading

2020 Election

Scientist who correctly predicted 2018 midterms says Democrats can win 18 more seats in 2020

Published

on

The political scientist who correctly predicted the 2018 elections says Democrats left seats on the table in the midterms -- and can win them in 2020.

Rachel Bitecofer, assistant director of the Judy Ford Wason Center for Public Policy at Christopher Newport University in Newport News, Virginia, was interviewed by MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell on "The Last Word."

"Could you explain to the viewers how it is you determine what it was that actually did win a given congressional district?" O'Donnell asked. "When there is this common belief that, oh, well, the Democrats ran because the Republicans threatened their health care and so some swing voters switched over from Republican voting to democratic voting."

Continue Reading
 

2020 Election

Maddow reveals how Chinese group Falun Gong went from disrupting events to running a shadow campaign for Trump

Published

on

MSNBC anchor Rachel Maddow on Tuesday detailed the remarkable journey of the group Falun Gong shifting from disrupting White House events to dominating the conversation on Facebook.

Maddow hilariously recounted the "major embarrassment" for the George W. Bush White House when a protester interrupted remarks by President of China Hu Jintao.

The protester was credentialed to cover the event for the Epoch Times, which is controlled by Falun Gong.

"Well, NBC News has a scoop out today about that group, about how that paper, the Epoch Times has transformed itself a lot in the Trump era. It’s a real revelation, this reporting from NBC News," Maddow said. "I mean, Epoch Times and its media group, they’ve made themselves into a whole new thing entirely and in a very big way."

Continue Reading
 
 

Thank you for whitelisting Raw Story!

As a special thank you, from now until August 31st, we're offering you a discounted rate of $5.99/month to subscribe and get ad-free access. We're honored to have you as a reader. Thank you. :) —Elias, Membership Coordinator
LEARN MORE
close-link
close-image