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Burma 11 April 2008

Reporters Without Borders pays tribute to Burmese journalist and writer Ludu Daw Amar

Reporters Without Borders pays tribute to Burmese journalist and writer Ludu Daw Amar, called “the mother of Burmese journalists,” who died on 7 April, aged 93, in a Mandalay hospital.

“All her long life, she resisted the pressure of the military and fought for freedom of expression for journalists and the Burmese people,” the organisation said. “Our thoughts are with her family, friends and admirers who traditionally gathered each year in Mandalay to mark her birthday. Journalists made the occasion into a symbol of resistance to the military dictatorship. We also think of her friend Win Tin, who is still being held at Rangoon’s Insein prison and was not allowed to go to her funeral.”

Ludu Daw Amar helped set up Mandalay’s first publishing house in the 1940s and got the nickname "Ludu" (“of the people”) because of her commitment to the poor in the paper she edited, Ludu Daily News, which was closed in the 1960s for its liberal views.

"She always criticised the government and was like the mother of all Burmese journalists,” Burmese commentator Win Min told Agence France-Presse news agency. “She was a moral symbol and the people were proud of her.”

Nearly 4,000 people attended her funeral on 9 April, including many of the country’s journalists, writers and cultural figures. Her ashes were cast into the Irrawaddy River. Opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, who is under house arrest, sent a bouquet of flowers.

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