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Myanmar Times banned for one week by censors

Jan 17, 2008 (DVB), The Burmese government censor board has imposed a one-week ban on the weekly Myanmar Times newspaper after it published a story about the postponement of new satellite license fees.

An editor from Rangoon, speaking on condition of anonymity, said newspaper is being punished for publishing a sensitive story despite a government warning not to write anything about it until they gave permission.

"The government doesn’t feel comfortable with news being reported on the new satellite fees and they told the press not to write about it," said the editor.

"But the Myanmar Times published a story on it, and now they have been banned for a week by the censor board."

Issue 346 of volume 18 of the Myanmar Times, published on 11 January, included an article about Myanmar Post and Telecommunications postponing acceptance of the new satellite license fees, which had recently been raised from 6000 to one million kyat.

"The government is angry about the Myanmar Times story because they were still at the stage of testing out whether the public would give in and agree to pay satellite fees at this ridiculous price," said the editor.

San Moe Wai, secretary of the Burma Media Association said that the government’s action against the newspaper showed how the military regime is increasing restriction on press freedom in the country.

"Their attitude towards the press is getting worse and worse," said San Moe Wai.

"This story about the new satellite fees has already been acknowledged by everyone and the press wrote an article about it," he said.

"Because of that, they decided to impose a ban on publishing, and this is not acceptable."

The Myanmar Times was unavailable for comment on the case.

Reporting by Htet Yazar

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