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Burma 12 October 2007

Four Burmese journalists and two "comedian-columnists" in prison as police round-up goes on

Reporters Without Borders and the Burma Media Association today expressed their concern for the physical safety of 6 journalists, writers and comedian-columnists now imprisoned in Burma as police raids continued.

"The announcement today of the death under torture of a pro-democracy activist, makes us fear the worst for the 11 reporters, video-makers and comedian-columnists, some of whom have been secretly held for several weeks in Burma. The UN Security Council statement which deplored the crackdown is to be welcomed, but it did not go far enough. We regret that the Security Council did not call for the immediate and unconditional release of Aung San Suu Kyi and all political prisoners. " the worldwide press freedom organisation said.

Several Burmese journalists confirmed that the security services are circulating photos of demonstrators taken by citizen journalists or foreign reporters in police stations and among police informers. Scores of people have reportedly been arrested on the basis of these photos.

Burmese Internet-users say that the Internet worked on 10 October, from midday to 4pm, but very slowly. The previous day, it worked from 2pm to 4pm then from 10pm to 1am, during a curfew which is still in force in Rangoon.

Journalists, video-makers and poets arrested during the demonstrations:

Maung Yan Paing, writer living in North Okkalapa,

Win Ko Ko Lat, reporter on the Weekly Eleven Journal,

Win Saing, photo-journalist,

Nay Linn Aung, reporter on 7-Days newspaper,

Contrary to what was reported earlier, Nay Linn Aung has still not been released.

Two actors who write columns on Burmese society and the junta, have been imprisoned:

Par Par Lay, A member of the Moustache Brothers troop in Mandalay, central Burma, has been secretly held since 25 September. He had previously been imprisoned from 1994-2001. Zarnagar, actor nicknamed the Burmese "Charlie Chaplin", was arrested in Rangoon after openly supporting the monks. He has already been imprisoned twice in 1988 and 1990. The magazine Irrawaddy quoted his wife as saying that his health is poor.

Several other journalists have disappeared, but they could have gone underground or tried to reach the Thai border.

Journalists detained before August 2007:

U Thaung Sein, freelance photo-reporter Ko Moe Htun, Dhamah-Yate Ne Min, independent Monywa Aung-Shin, Sar-maw-khung U Win Tin, Hanthawathi




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