Last Updated: Friday, 15 December 2017, 16:28 GMT

Poem prompts purge of Rangoon-based magazine

Publisher Reporters Without Borders
Publication Date 2 July 2008
Cite as Reporters Without Borders, Poem prompts purge of Rangoon-based magazine, 2 July 2008, available at: [accessed 17 December 2017]
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 a government purge of the staff of the privately-owned, Rangoon-based monthly Cherry over a poem it published last month.

Its editor, Htay Aung, was told to resign after being summoned for questioning on 24 June by the Censorship Board, an information ministry offshoot. His replacement and any other new staff appointments will have to be approved by the board.

The offending poem, which was originally approved by the Censorship Board, is about the town of Depayin. At one point it laments the fact that Depayin has produced thugs but it does not directly mention an attack by military government supporters on an opposition National League for Democracy motorcade in Depayin in May 2003 in which dozens of NLD activists were killed.

The poem's author, Kyi Maung Than, has gone into hiding for fear of being arrested by the military government. His poems and articles were banned for several years after he took a pro-democracy position. Reporters Without Borders and the Burma Media Association are concerned at the possibility that he could be found and detained.

Another poet, Saw Wai, was arrested on 22 January for writing a St. Valentine's Day poem containing a coded criticism of the head of the military junta, Senior Gen. Than Shwe. He is still being held in Insein prison.

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