2012-08-20 15:11:27

Burmese government lifts censorship measures

(Vatican Radio) The Burmese government declared on Monday that it is abolishing media censorship in the country. Journalists in Burma will no longer be required to submit their work to state censors for review, ending a strictly enforced practice which had been in place for nearly half a century. There are, however, a number of restrictions still in place which still limit journalistic freedom in the country.

Speaking with Vatican Radio, Director of Burma Campaign UK Mark Farmaner explained that, while the announcement marks a positive step towards reform in the country, there are still concerns with regard to freedom of the press as many media censorship restrictions remain in place.

Although the government says it is ending censorship, Farmaner said, it is in fact only ending pre-censorship, making it so journalists are no longer required to submit articles in advance. “There are still strict censorship laws in the country,” he explained. “There are areas where journalists are still not allowed to report on issues. And they will still be operating within some quite strict guidelines.”

Farmaner went on to say that constitutional restrictions about what journalists can publish remain in place, “even relating to what goes on in parliament.”

Although Monday’s announcement by the government is a “welcome statement,” which is ”part of a bigger picture of reforms that are taking place in Burma,” Farmaner warns: “This isn’t a complete end to all censorship with a guarantee that media will have freedom and independence to report on anything they want… Censorship has not been banned in Burma. There is still censorship there, there are still limitations on what media are allowed to report.”

Listen to Director of Burma Campaign UK Mark Farmaner’s interview with Vatican Radio’s Ann Schneible: RealAudioMP3

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