Tuesday, 2 September 2008

Burmese blogger conference banned

Sep 1, 2008 (DVB)–A technical conference for Burmese bloggers due to be held on 31 August in Rangoon was banned by the military authorities at short notice after organisers had already advertised the event.

The conference was organised by the Myanmar Computer Experts Association and was to be held at Rangoon’s International Business Centre, situated on the bank of Inya Lake.

The organisers had arranged for Burmese bloggers and writers such as Thitsani and Kyaw Win to attend the conference and deliver lectures.

A member of staff from the computer association said the government had claimed the theme of the conference was not valid.

“We said that we were going to talk about technical development and they insisted that [blogging] does not have much to do with technology,” he said.

“That’s why it was cancelled – the authorities insisted that it was not relevant.”

A blogger who was due to attend the conference said getting people interested in blogging had the potential to make news and information sharing more accessible.

“We planned to lecture on making the blogging world more effective and interesting,” the blogger said.

“We did it with the intention of sharing ideas about the technical difficulties faced by the participants,” he said.

“Some people know nothing about blogging. It is not like other media – it is far-reaching and easily sharable.”

In 2007, a technical conference for bloggers held at the International Business Centre was attended by more than 300 people.

The Burmese military regime has made efforts to control blogging since last September’s Saffron Revolution, when bloggers played a key role in getting the latest reports and images out on the demonstrations and the government’s crackdown.

One well-known blogger, Nay Phone Latt, was arrested on 29 January and is still being detained.

Reporting by Htet Yarzar

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