freedom off Myanmar Ends Direct Media Censorship
In the latest significant reform by its quasi-civilian Government, Myanmar abolished direct censorship of the media, a step in the direction of allowing freedom of expression in the lohgrepressed nation.
The recent move can be said as the step in the right direction but the question of press freedom will remain because there are still some significant restrictions that remain. Under the new rules, journalists will no longer have to submit their work to state censors before Publication as they did for almost half a century. However, the same harsh laws that have allowed Myanmar’s rulers to jail, blacklist and control the media in the name of protecting national security remain unchanged on the books.
The changes for press freedom gathered steam since June last year when the Information Ministry decided to allow about half of privately run weekly journals and monthly magazine to publish without submitting as proof to a censorship Board in advance. On 20th August, 2012, the restrictions were further lifted on the remaining 80 political and six religious journals.
For decades, this Southeast Asian nation’s reporters had been regarded as among the most restricted in the world, subjected to routine state surveillance, phone taps and Censorship so intense that independent papers could not publish on a daily basis. Myanmar was ranked 169th of 179 nations in a global press freedom index prepared by Reporters without Borders last year.
Prior to the abolition of media censorship, the Information Ministry said the censor board itself would be abolished when censorship ends. But the recent announcement indicated the board will stay and retain the powers it has always had to suspend publications or revoke publishing *licences if they deem publishing rules are violated.
Critics say some laws are open to interpretation and give the government enormous power to go after its critics. e.g. – the Electronic Transaction Law
Myanmar’s government of sectarian
Myanmar’s government has formed a commission to investioate the causes of recent sectarian violence between the Rakhine Buddhists and Muslim Rohingyas in.which at least 83 people were killed and displaced tens of thousands of people. The 27-member commission ?Ait be headed by a retired Relgious Affairs Ministry official.
Then Sein has rejected calls from the United Nations and human rights croups for independent investigators, saying the unrest was an internal affair.
enacted in April, 2004. It says, “Whoever receives or sends or distributes any information relating to secrets of the security of the States can face upto 15 years of imprisonment”. The definition of ‘state secret’ is left to the State to interprete. In the past it had been loosely interpreted. At one point, it included any reference to the amount of money in circulation in Myanmar. Prominent activists such as Buddhist monk Shin Gambira were jailed under that law during a 2007 crackdown on monk-led protests. Hence, the freedom of press in Myanmar is still needs clarity