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NEWS UPDATES 8 September 2010

Myanmar increases censorship

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Myanmar’s ruling regime has increased its censorship of the country's already highly restricted press before the first election in 20 years, an international media watchdog said Wednesday.

Reporters Without Borders describes the military-ruled country as as a “censors' paradise”, said there was nothing to suggest local or foreign media would be able to freely report on or ahead of the Nov. 7 vote.

It said media restrictions were tightening as the polls approach, citing as one example the week-long suspension of the weekly Modern Times for changing the headline of its weather forecast without permission.

An article about the possibility of heavy rain in September was given the headline 'Will it come in September?' which the censors suspected was an allusion to the anti-government Saffron Revolution in Sept 2007.

'Without press freedom, the election will just be a sham,' the group said in a statement. Military-ruled since 1962, Myanmar has more than 150 privately-owned newspapers and magazines but they are all subject to pre-publication censorship by a press scrutiny board run by an army officer, reporters Without Borders said.

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