Myanmar lifts suspensions but free press a way off

Featured - August 8th, 2012
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Local media in Myanmar protested against the regime’s censorship laws and have gained a small victory after the suspension two weekly journals was lifted, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Despite major economic and social reforms, the country seems reluctant to make efforts to ensure press freedom and will still require newspapers to submit stories to a censorship board before publication. The government announced it will lift suspension on The Voice and The Envoy by August 18, allowing them to resume publication. The Voice, a leading weekly news journal with a circulation of about 90,000, was suspended over an article about a rumored cabinet reshuffle.

As a sign of protest over the suspensions, several weekly journals – The Messenger, Express Time, and The Nation – blacked out parts of their front pages. Around a hundred journalists, who have formed the Committee for Freedom of the Press, rallied on the streets. The Venus news weekly published news of the march on the front page in defiance of the censorship rules.

Director-general of the Ministry of Information’s information and public relations department told the Journal that the government is “doing its best to allow as much press freedom as it can under current media laws”. According to analysts, the country is taking steps towards press freedom, pointing out that several newspapers and journalists “on the ground”.