Last Updated: Tuesday, 21 October 2014, 16:06 GMT

Military censors close Rangoon-based weekly for good

Publisher Reporters Without Borders
Publication Date 1 September 2009
Cite as Reporters Without Borders, Military censors close Rangoon-based weekly for good, 1 September 2009, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4aa4d422a.html [accessed 22 October 2014]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

Reporters Without Borders and the Burma Media Association condemn the indefinite closure of the Rangoon-based weekly Phoenix by the military government's censorship board on 21 August. The weekly is edited by Mar-J, a writer who has been subject to bans in the past for his satirical comments.

"This ban is a sad example of the censorship to which Burma's privately-owned media are constantly exposed," the two organisations said. "The publication of critical articles is not grounds for such a ban. Phoenix must be allowed to resume publishing without delay."

Last November, Reporters Without Borders and the Burma Media Association released the text of a directive which the censorship board had sent to the news media spelling out the circumstances in which they could be suspended or closed down for good.

The authorities have not given any specific reason for Phoenix's closure. Mizzima, a Burmese exile news website, quoted a censorship board official as simply saying: "The weekly has been banned from publishing."

A one-issue ban was previously imposed on Phoenix on 28 May. Mizzima reported four days later that the weekly had been punished for defying the censorship board's orders to publish only entertainment articles. Phoenix's editors said the orders had come too late.

Part of the motive for the permanent ban appears to be a desire to settle old scores with Mar-J, who is also a former Major in the Burmese Air Force. But after publishing satirical articles about the military junta, he was removed from his post.

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