KyivPost

Myanmar to keep close watch on media before poll

Print version
Oct. 31, 2010, 10:16 a.m. | World — by Reuters

Reuters

YANGON, Oct 31 (Reuters) - Myanmar's military government has ordered local journalists representing foreign news organisations to attend mandatory field trips ahead of its Nov. 7 election in an apparent move to restrict reporting of the controversial poll. Journalists will be sent to different parts of the country to accompany diplomats on state-sponsored guided tours, and media will be barred from going within 50 metres of polling stations, the Information Ministry said on Sunday.

Foreign journalists and observers have been barred from attending the election, the first in two decades in the former British colony and widely dismissed as an elaborate stunt to cement the military's 48-year grip on power.

Internet services in Myanmar have been sporadic and mostly unavailable for the past seven days, which activists believe is an attempt to restrict coverage and discussion of the election.

State media in Myanmar is tightly controlled and serves as the mouthpiece for the reclusive generals. Some foreign news organisations are permitted to hire local journalists vetted by the government.

Two parties backed by the regime and comprised of recently retired generals and their proxies are expected to sweep the ballot against pro-democracy opponents contesting no more than 14 percent of constituencies.

Aung Zaw, editor of the Thailand-based Irrawaddy magazine, said the mandatory media tours were probably an attempt by the government to appear transparent while ensuring reporters were under close watch.

"The regime is always paranoid. The political temperature is rising now and there's a chance the military's proxy parties might not get the support they hope for," he said.

"They want to make sure reporters in the country, and outside, have no idea what's really going on."
The Kyiv Post is disabling its online comment section due to an increase in trolls, violent comments and other personal attacks. Other news organizations worldwide have taken similar steps for the same reasons. The Kyiv Post regrets having to take this action. The newspaper believes in a robust public debate, but the discussion must be constructive and intelligent. For the time being, the Kyiv Post will allow comments on its moderated Facebook group https://www.facebook.com/groups/kyivpost/. The newspaper will consider hosting online comments again when circumstances allow. Thank you from the Kyiv Post.

KyivPost

© 1995–2015 Public Media

Web links to Kyiv Post material are allowed provided that they contain a URL hyperlink to the www.kyivpost.com material and a maximum 500-character extract of the story. Otherwise, all materials contained on this site are protected by copyright law and may not be reproduced without the prior written permission of Public Media at news@kyivpost.com
All information of the Interfax-Ukraine news agency placed on this web site is designed for internal use only. Its reproduction or distribution in any form is prohibited without a written permission of Interfax-Ukraine.