Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Press Freedom and Oppression in Burma

On 3rd May, the Democratic Voice of Burma (DVB) marked World Press Freedom Day by launching a campaign to free 17 jailed video journalists serving long prison sentences (up to 27 years) within the country.

DVB is an independent media organisation committed to responsible journalism. Their safety is constantly being compromised and some of its journalists have been forced to flee the country, claiming refugee status in France. DVB itself has in fact been exiled.

The DVB, along with other international media organisations such as the BBC, RFA and VOA have never had permission to work freely inside the country and their reporters frequently come under attack.

Despite this 66% of Burmese people claim to listen to these radio stations almost every day and claim that they prefer the reporting by these broadcasters, viewing it as a more legitimate source of international news than the government controlled radio station.

More than 25 media representatives are currently behind bars in Burma, usually for their critical articles concerning government methods.

Earlier this year Maung Maung Zeya was sentenced to 13 years for leading a team of journalists into Burma, after his son was tortured into making the accusation.

Nat Soe, another DVB journalist was sentenced to 10 years on 8th Feb. He was tried secretly in prison and found guilty of participating in a poster campaign to free Aung San Suu Kyi.

Journalist Kaung Myat Hlaing confessed to the crimes of which he was charged under torture and is now also serving time. This is the second time he has been convicted on the basis of confession under torture.

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