Myanmar has abolished direct censorship of its media in what some will see as a major step in reforms to the long-repressed nation.
Previously, all journalistic work had to pass through state censors before publishing was to be sanctioned – the new rules change a status quo that was in place for almost half a century.
AP reports that not all reaction to the change has been positive, citing concerns about “related laws and practices that may lead to self-censorship” and quoting citizens who “raise doubt about how much will change.”
Prior to recent relaxations to the law by President Thein Sein’s reformist government, even such things as images of opposition leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, would have been completely forbidden by orders from the Press Scrutiny and Registration Department. Now, that board will stay in place rather than being completely disbanded as some had hoped.
Shawn Crispin, the Committee to Protect Journalist’s Southeast Asia representative in Bangkok, said to AP that “if the government is sincere in ending pre-publication censorship, it would represent a significant step forward for press freedom … (but) all of these promises can be easily rolled back if they feel a free press threatens government security.”#
Read more at AP.