The Myanmar junta has suspended nine weekly news journals which accorded prominent front-page coverage to the release of democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi.
The Press Scrutiny and Registration Division under the Ministry of Information suspended publication of the top sports journal, First Eleven and the Hot News journal for two weeks while other journals 7 Days News, The Voice, Venus News, Pyithu Khit, Myanmar Post, The Snap Shot and Myanmar Newsweek were suspended for one week, according to Irrawaddy.org.
The former were suspended for publishing news that had not approved, and the latter for extra full-page reports. Some of them used more than one photo in some editions.
“The junta’s censorship board did not want the journals to report fully the news about Aung San Suu Kyi’s release. But the journals ran special features … and used pictures of Aung San Suu Kyi that were larger than the size specified as allowable by the junta,” a news editor in Rangoon told New Delhi-based Mizzima News.
It is the first time that publications have been banned after the November 7 elections. Speculation, in fact, had been rife that the ruling junta may eventually ease the tight restrictions on media. Myanmar has more than 150 privately-owned newspapers and magazines, all of which are subject to pre-publication censorship by the PSRD, headed by ex-soldier Major Tint Swe. Myanmar is ranked 174th out of 178 countries in the Reporters Without Borders 2010 press freedom index.
Suu Kyi, who had been incarcerated for 15 of the past 21 years, was released on November 13, less than a week after the widely criticised elections. News of her release was reported by official media, including the New Light of Myanmar.