Tag Archive for 'Press'

Burma abolishes pre-censorship of media. What does it really mean?

In The Irrawady:

The decision of the Burmese government on Monday to abolish the pre-censorship of articles in the national media (read more here) has received a mixed response. The Irrawaddy examines the consequences of this landmark move.

What did the PSRD say to editors?

The Burmese government told editors of weekly journals on Monday that, effective immediately, their outlets “no longer need to pass the censorship board.” Tint Swe, the head of Burma’s Press Scrutiny and Registration Division (PSRD), added that the easing of restrictions was the result of policy changes within the Ministry of Information.

So time to congratulate journalists in Burma?

Journalists who faced pressure and imprisonment in Burma cautiously welcomed the announcement that they will no longer be required to submit articles to the country’s draconian censorship board. But they are very aware that “Big Brother” is still there to monitor and watch.

The move is not enough to restore media freedom. However, it is safe to say that the government has made a small concession after shutting down local journals and facing pressure and street protest from journalists. More:

Editor arrested for ‘outraging Muslims’

The editor and publisher of India’s The Statesman were arrested for hurting “hurting the religious feelings” of Muslims after they reprinted an article by The Independent‘s Johaan Hari. They were granted interim bail. Here’s the report from The Independent where the article was first published and the author’s comment:

The editor and publisher of a major Indian newspaper have been arrested for “hurting the religious feelings” of Muslims after they reprinted an article from The Independent. Ravindra Kumar and Anand Sinha, the editor and publisher of the Kolkata-based English daily The Statesman, appeared in court yesterday charged under section 295A of the Indian Penal Code which forbids “deliberate and malicious acts intended to outrage religious feelings”.

Sections of central Kolkata have been paralysed by protests for much of the past week after The Statesman republished an article by The Independent’s columnist Johann Hari. Titled “Why should I respect oppressive religions?”, the piece was originally printed in The Independent on 28 January. In it, Hari said he believed the right to criticise any religion was being eroded around the world.

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Tibet’s young and restless itch for fight

From Mint, India:

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The hum of prayer reverberates through this settlement of 22,000, across its monasteries and the palace. Some 250km west of Bangalore, Bylakuppe holds the distinction of being the biggest Tibetan settlement outside Tibet, bigger even than Dharamsala.
But confusion is beginning to creep into this peaceful town that lies amid fields of maize, ginger and chillies, as Tibetan youth find themselves battling over how to battle.

The youth have been divided over their future course of action by a despairing threat from the Dalai Lama to resign if violence in Tibet continued or escalated. On Tuesday, the Dalai Lama called Tibetan violence “suicidal” and expressed his reservations about batches of protest marches from Dharamsala to Lhasa. “Don’t commit violence, it is not good,” he said at a news conference. “Violence is against human nature, violence is almost suicide. Even if 1,000 Tibetans sacrifice their lives, it will not help.”

But, while one small segment seeks to accede to the Dalai Lama’s plea, a larger section still calls for meeting fire with fire.

[Photo: Tibetans hold candles during a prayer march in Bylakuppe, India]

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China’s patchy Tibet blackout

Edward Cody from Beijing in The Washington Post:

As news reverberated around the world that bloody disturbances had erupted in Tibet, a star journalist for a leading Chinese newsmagazine was asked if he had any good sources in the remote mountain region. “Why?” he asked, unaware that anything was going on.

The reporter’s reaction was not unusual. When rioting by outraged Tibetans shook Lhasa last Friday, the Communist Party’s censorship apparatus tamped down news of the rampage, leaving most of China’s 1.3 billion people in the dark. Government-controlled television news ignored the crisis for the first few days, and Chinese newspapers were restricted to skeleton dispatches from the official New China News Agency.

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It’s the Tibetan economy, stupid

Lack of economic opportunity fueled the riots in Tibet, says Abrahm Lustgarten, author of the upcoming “China’s Great Train: Beijing’s Drive West and the Campaign to Remake Tibet,” in The Washington Post:

On a winter night not long ago, I walked through the glowing doorway of Lhasa’s newest nightclub, Babila, for an interview with its owner, a Chinese entrepreneur. Disco balls spun from the ceiling. Fiber-optic strands of plastic beads drizzled down like rain to a long, sleek stainless steel bar. On the stage, dancers in stiletto heels and lingerie gyrated to thumping music.

“Tibetan culture is so deeply rooted here,” the owner told me. “I don’t think it will be diluted — it’s important for business.” Yet looking around, I saw no Tibetan employees, and Tibetans represented only a smattering of customers. The bar served mostly Chinese businessmen and army officers, whose tabs could run as high as $2,000, several times the per capita income in Tibet.

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Brothers in arms

Adam B. Ellick in The New York Times:

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In Queens, New York, a vibrant Pakistani community has been closely tracking the country’s political chaos since the opposition leader Benazir Bhutto was assassinated in December.

rehman.jpgAs Pakistan remains politically divided, so, too, are the eight Urdu-language newspapers published in the city. And perhaps no place reflects that split more than a simple storefront in Jamaica, where two rival weeklies are divided not only by politics, but also by a mere wall. The Pakistan Post is published by a determined journalist [photo: top] who favors Ms. Bhutto’s party. A few feet away, The Urdu Times [photo: right] is run by an advertisement-obsessed editor who supports President Pervez Musharraf.

In 1991, the two editors ran the same paper. But after a bitter dispute over finances, they split and mostly ignored each other over the next 16 years. Seven months ago, the two reunited in an unlikely friendship, and although they still disagree on politics and ideology, they are now best friends.

The New York Times followed them over the past five weeks. Read the rest of the story and watch the video report: More: