Government bans writers for supporting protests

Oct 18, 2007 (DVB), The information ministry’s censor board has issued a ban order on over 20 writers and cartoonists who supported last month’s protests.

An editor of a weekly journal in Rangoon told DVB that magazines and journals have received an order from the censor board instructing them not to publish the work of 22 writers and cartoonists, including 88-year-old high profile writer Dagon Taryar, veteran journalist Ludu Sein Win and cartoonist Aw Pi Kyae.

"This is not an official order. [The censor board] also told us to cancel publication of any articles written by banned writers which had previously been approved by the board," the editor said.

"They are going to ban everyone who showed courage and spoke out against the government. There will be only cowards left."

Dagon Taryar, who was involved in the student-led fight for independence from the British, said yesterday he was "not surprised" hear about the ban on him but felt sorry for other banned writers as writing was their only form of employment.

"I have no enemy and I don’t regard anyone as my enemy when I talk about them. I’m not surprised to hear about the ban," said Dagon Taryar.

"But still, this is bad for a lot of writers as they rely on writing to make a living."

Dagon Taryar spoke to DVB last month and urged the military junta to stop their brutal crackdown on protesters if they were serious about moving towards democracy.

"Peaceful protests are common in democratic countries. If you look at the history of Burmese political movements, you'll see that even monks have played a part," he said.

Reporting by Htet Yarzar

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