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.

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