Monday, March 4, 2013

Burma Shaves Press Rights in Proposed Law

English: State seal of Myanmar adopted in 2008.
 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
A proposed printing and publishing law submitted by Myanmar's Ministry of Information has alarmed free press advocates concerned that the Southeast Asian nation may be backtracking on its efforts to relax suppression of the news media.

According to accounts by Agence France Presse and Global Post, the proposed measure would subject members of unaccredited news organizations to a maximum six months' imprisonment, and would restrict reporting on articles that violate the ruling military junta's constitution or that cover ethnic groups' skirmishes.

The proposed legislation was published last week in Burmese state-run media. Reportedly, only half of the 17 media organizations to date that applied for daily licenses received government approval. The proposed bill appears to be a retreat by the government from relaxing constraints on the press, which included eliminating pre-publication censorship rules last August.

 "Banning news topics and legalizing the jailing of journalists is utterly inconsistent with the press freedom guarantees that authorities vowed the new law would promote," a spokesperson for the Committee to Protect Journalists lamented.
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