Poet arrested for hidden message

Jan 23, 2008 (DVB), A poet whose work was published in the weekly Achit Journal has been arrested after authorities found a hidden anti-government message in his poem.

Issue 46, Volume 46 of the journal, published on 21 January, included a short poem by Saw Wai called "February 14th".

But it was later found that the first characters of each line of the poem spelled out "megalomaniac Than Shwe".

Saw Wai and his wife were arrested yesterday by Military Security Affairs forces and are currently under interrogation, fellow poets said.

Myat Khine, the editor-in-chief of the journal, has been summoned before the state censor board to explain why the poem was published.

The Press Scrutiny and Registration Department, part of the Ministry of Information, had reportedly said the poem should be withdrawn, but their instructions were ignored as the journals had already been printed.

According to government guidelines, publications should carry no references to Valentine's Day.

Myat Khine is unpopular with many writers in and outside Burma because he is seen as being close to the military regime.

The journal's publisher is Maung Pan Hmwe, a poet and former exiled opposition activist who returned to Burma several years ago.

Reporting by Naw Say Phaw

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