Myanmar freedom of the press? Progress, but not there yet

August 26, 2012

English: Burma (Myanmar) (dark green) / ASEAN ...

Burma (Myanmar) (dark green) / ASEAN (dark grey) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Economist carries the good news, with the sober warning that press freedom remains beyond the grasp of Myanmar journalists:

But as part of a wider reform programme introduced by President Thein Sein, the old media rules have gradually been relaxed. For several months many editors have no longer been required to submit articles for prepublication censorship on such subjects as the economy. The latest announcement removes the need to submit articles on more sensitive topics, such as politics or Myanmar’s ethnic conflicts.

The country’s journalists welcome the news, but they also give warning that this by no means ends restrictions on press freedom. These remain numerous and burdensome. In particular, two bits of repressive legislation remain: the Printers and Publishers Registration Act, dating from the start of military rule in 1962, and the 2004 Electronic Transactions Law. Under the first, publications can lose their licences if they supposedly harm the reputation of a government department, threaten peace and security, and much else. Under the second, a person can be imprisoned for up to 15 years for distributing via the internet information that the courts deem harmful to the state. Meanwhile, the censor board itself seems likely to remain in business, ready to punish reporters or editors who overstep the mark.

But, good news is good news, yes?  See the entire article at The Economist.


Olla podrida: Short takes for Bathtub reading

April 2, 2012

Dr. Ann Dunham was an interesting woman who met challenges, some of her own making, and made life work. She mothered a future president of the United States, she earned a Ph.D. and with it she fought global poverty. In March 2011 Donald Trump stated on “Good Morning America” that birthers like him shouldn’t be dismissed as “idiots.” I guess we can make that dismissal now. The birthers have wasted our precious time with specious allegations and owe the country an apology.

Berlin Airlift:  Lieutenant Donald W. Measley of Hampton, New Jersey is presented with a bouquet of flowers by nine-year-old Suzanna Joks of Berlin. Truman Library photo

Berlin Airlift: Lieutenant Donald W. Measley of Hampton, New Jersey is presented with a bouquet of flowers by nine-year-old Suzanna Joks of Berlin. Truman Library photo

YANGON, MYANMAR — The party of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi said Monday it had won nearly every seat in closely watched by-elections, a startling result that showed strong support for the opposition even among government employees and soldiers.

Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi, the Nobel Peace Prize laureate who was elected to Parliament for the first time, was ebullient on Monday and spoke of the “beginning of a new era” in a brief address to a tightly packed crowd outside her party’s headquarters.

In total, elections were held in 45 districts, a portion of the more than 600 seats in Parliament. The National League for Democracy appears to have won in 43 districts, according to Hein Min, a member of an independent Burmese election monitoring group.


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