Thursday, 29 May 2008

Burma’s Censors Vet In-Depth Cyclone Reports

The Irrawaddy News

Burma’s press censors are closely vetting local newspaper reports on the aftermath of Cyclone Nargis, according to journalists in Rangoon.

The chief editor of one journal said in-depth reporting from the cyclone-devastated areas was being cut by the censorship board.

“Three of my stories which describe the hard-hit areas and the plight of survivors were censored,” he said.

Another Rangoon journalist told The Irrawaddy: “It is very shameful that the real story about how people need help cannot be told. The government doesn’t want people, especially the international community, to know that so many survivors are still waiting for aid.”

Burmese newspapers report that sales leapt following the cyclone. “Readers are hungry for information,” said one senior member of a newspaper group.

There were calls by several Western countries at Sunday’s international aid conference in Rangoon for access to be given to the cyclone-hit areas by the foreign press.

The Czech Republic’s representative at the conference, Jirí Sitler, said media access was “very important” to ensure “full transparency” and monitor the Burmese regime’s adherence to its promise to allow international relief workers into the devastated areas.

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