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Indian journalists ‘to closely monitor pro-democracy movement

Indian government should ‘grant the benefits of democracy, humanity and prosperity to the peoples of India's origin and take a critical stance on the fairness and inclusiveness of the upcoming elections in Burma and their results.This call was made by the more than 20 journalists and civil society activists who participated in a media workshop on the November 7 Burma election as well as the situation of Burmese refugees living in India, held at the Press Club of India.

India allows refugees to stay in the country as they await UNHCR refugee status, it could do much more in providing security to this vulnerable group. The participants reminded the government that the influx of refugees in India is the result of bad governance in Burma.“India would benefit from a democratic Burma with respect to its economic and security interests in that country, while supporting the current regime simply plays into the hands of China,” said Nava Thakuria, senior journalist from Assam.

The day-long event, organized by Burma Center Prague and Burma Centre Delhi, was inaugurated by His Excellency Miloslav Stasek, Ambassador of the Czech Republic to the Republic of India.“The Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs supports the transition to democracy in Burma through projects such as the Indian Base for the Transformation of Burma, being carried out by Burma Center Prague with the help of Burma Centre Delhi,” he explained.

As part of this project, three Czech journalists came to New Delhi to share their experience in covering elections and at the same time learn more about the work of Burmese independent media and see first-hand the situation of Burmese refugees living in the city.The workshop featured several experts on the Burmese issue including Dr. Tint Swe, Member of Parliament of the Burmese government in exile, Soe Myint, Editor-in-Chief of Mizzima News, Nava Thakuria, journalist from Assam, K. Yhome, Observer Research Foundation, Ro Mawi, Chin Refugee Committee, and Sangte, Editor of Khonumthung News.

The workshop was followed by a press conference with prominent Indian panelists including Vijay Jolly, joint convener, All India BJP Overseas Cell, Sumit Chakravarty, Editor of Mainstream and Jyoti Malhotra, senior journalist based in New Delhi.The media workshop also made an appeal to the mainstream Indian media that it should objectively report about the situation in Burma on the basis of all available sources while critically reviewing information provided by the Burmese military junta and its civilian successors and proxies.

It was also urged the Indian journalists ‘to closely consult with Burmese independent media and the Burmese pro-democracy movement in order to obtain a complete picture of the situation inside Burma and if possible provide training to them’.

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