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Burma 12 June 2002

Three magazines banned

"Once again, the military junta’s censorship bureau has temporarily banned private publications for ridiculous reasons. The government is making no efforts to reduce the control of information. Burma remains one of the most hostile countries to the private press," said Robert Ménard, general secretary of Reporters Without Borders in a letter sent to colonel Tin Hlaing, Minister of the Interior of the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC). Reporters Without Borders and the Burma Media Association (BMA, an organization of exiled Burmese journalists) deplore the sanctions taken against the publications Living Color, Mhyar Nat Maung Mingalar and Kyi pwar yee. The two organizations called on the minister to immediately repeal these decisions and stop censoring information.

According to information obtained by Reporters Without Borders and the BMA, the Literary Scrutiny Board banned the publication of the magazines Living Color, Mhyar Nat Maung Mingalar and Kyi pwar yee during the month of June 2002. According to the independent monthly Irrawaddy, the business magazine Living Color was sanctioned for having published an advertisement by the MK Billiard Company. This company is said to be in conflict with the military junta’s Minister of Sport for refusing to give equipment to the official billiard association. Founded in 1995, Living Color, whose managing director is the son of lieutenant general Khin Nyunt, had never been sanctioned before. In addition, the Literary Scrutiny Board banned Kyi pwar yee for using the word Yodaya (the former name for Thailand) in its latest issue. The Literary Scrutiny Board told publishers of private publications in Rangoon on 22 May 2002 that it was forbidden to publish articles or advertisements concerning Thailand. This decision followed recent military and diplomatic tension between the two countries. Finally, the magazine Mhyar Nat Maung Mingalar was banned for publishing an advertisement on the page that was reserved for SPDC propaganda. This magazine, published since 1991, publishes essentially women’s news and short stories.

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