Monday, February 18, 2008

Burmese journalists remain behind bars

Reporters Without Borders released its 2008 Annual Report, in which systematic abuses of freedom of the press inside Burma are chronicled.

According to the group, the working conditions for journalists in Burma significantly deteriorated from mid-August of last year, when the first protests materialized in response to unannounced energy price hikes.

The report notes that 15 journalists were arrested as a result of covering the protests, while Japanese journalist Kenji Nagai was killed and other foreign correspondents closely monitored.

Raising the cost of a satellite license from five to 800 dollars, pulling the plug on the Internet and restricting the sale of foreign periodicals in the days and months following the protests are all listed in the year’s summary as examples of infringements against media rights.

Additionally, Reporters Without Borders is concerned as to restrictions on mobile phones, used during the protests and subsequent crackdown to take pictures and video.

Nine journalists are listed as remaining in detention, including the 77-year old Win Tin, who has languished in a cell since 1989.

Others still behind bars include Ko Aung Gyi, former editorial head of 90 minutes, along with Ko Win Maw and Ko Aung Aung, all of whom are being held on suspicion of distributing pictures and information to international media sources during the 2007 uprising.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Pado Manh Sha Myanmar leader assassinated in Thailand

Bangkok:Prominent Leader of pro democracy movement in Myanmar"s Karen National Union who was also a key figure in the democracy movement was assassinated on Thursday at his home in Thailand, Thai police said.

Pado Manh Sha, 65, was the Karen Nationa Union secretary general based in the town of Mae Sot in Thailand. He was a critic of Myanmar"s military regime who coordinated between the ethnic Karen and the democracy movement in the Myanmar.

"His relatives who witnessed the killing said the first man went up to greet Pado Manh Sha while he was resting, but then shot him once. A second man came up and shot him again," Passawat said.

Pado Manh Sha could have been killed by a Karen splinter group or assassins ordered by the military as reported in the media.Political analyst says,It could be KNU internal problems as the Christian KNU and Buddhist groups battles with splinter group called the Democratic Karen Buddhist Army (DKBA).

KNU is in embattled with Myanmar"s rulers from last six decades in one of the world"s longest-running insurgencies.KNU is the largest rebel group battling Myanmar"s armed forces and one of the few remaining ethnic insurgencies yet to sign a peace deal with the junta.
KNU once controlled broad swaths of eastern Myanmar but presently is reduced mainly to small bases pressed against the Thai border.

Six decades of continuous war with military junta has destroyed eastern Myanmar, more than 500,000 people have been displaced by violence, according to reports by Human Rights.

In this eastern Thai border of Myanmar more than 150,000 Karen refugees live in camps along Thai"s border with Myanmar. Many of them have been there for more than 20 years.
he was also a critical link between the rebellion and the pro-democracy movement inside Myanmar.

KNU spokesman David Thaw said the group's leadership would gather Friday in Mae Sot to make funeral preparations and try to unravel the mystery of his killing. "There's a lot of confusion,"
"At the moment we think that it must be someone trying to create problems for the Karen, to create more disunity and divisions among each other," he said.

"It might be a professional killer, so someone might have hired this gunman. It is a very cold-blooded killer who can kill Pado Manh Sha at his house," he said.

"The gunshot was very accurate for someone to die instantly," he added.

Thai police said they were combing through Pado Manh Sha's double-storey house to search for clues but admitted they were struggling to find a solid lead.

"We are investigating to look for more evidence," a senior provincial police officer said.

A Thai military officer in Mae Sot said on condition of anonymity that investigators believe the killing was likely committed by a Karen splinter group like the Democratic Karen Buddhist Army.

Most Karen are Christians, but the DKBA has broken away and aligned itself with Myanmar's military, which has ruled the country since 1962.

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