Suu Kyi photos make Burma’s front pages

Two batches of photographs of Aung San Suu Kyi taken in the last week have made it to the front page of various news journals, the first time in years that the opposition leader’s face has been allowed to take centre stage in domestic news.

Images released after Monday’s talks with Burmese Labour Minister Aung Kyi appeared on several high-profile publications, including People’s Age, Pyi Myanmar and Yangon Times.

A separate photo taken of the Nobel laureate during the Martyrs’ Day ceremony in Rangoon last week was published on the front page of the Popular News Journal

It marks something of a change from the military-controlled government’s historic attempts to sideline Suu Kyi, whom it has keep under house arrest for more than 15 of the past 20 years.

Following her release in November last year, nine news journals were suspended for publishing photos of her on their front pages, although several others carried the images in supplements.

Various analysts have claimed the media environment in Burma, which has historically been one of the world’s most repressive, is beginning to open up. The new government appears to have loosened a watertight grip on material considered critical of its policies, although heavy penalties remain for those who attempt to bypass the censor board before going to print.

Kyaw Yin Myint, a prominent Burmese writer, said that the appearance of Suu Kyi’s image on front pages was “delightful”, but to be considered noteworthy must be a permanent policy of the government.

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