Barred journalists finding Govt media reforms hard to believe

Journalists working in Karen State claim that officials are stopping them from covering news stories, attending meeting or news events held by government departments.

In the latest incident, journalists claim that on June 1 they were barred, while they were gathering news, from a meeting traffic rules and regulations held by the Karen State Land Transportation Department (Ka Nya Na) at a government meeting held in in Hpa-an Town hall.

Ko Pwint San (Popar), a journalist working for Hot News alleged that the (Ka-Nya-Na) State Directorate, U Aung Naing, stopped journalists from collecting news from the meeting.

“I went there for news. One of the Directorate’s assistants came out from the meeting hall and demanded of me, ‘What are you doing here?’ I replied that, ‘I come to collect news.’ He said, ‘You don’t have the right to get news from here’, and he drove me out [of the building].”

Ko Zaw Htet, a journalist working in Karen State for Myanmar Post confirmed that he first hand of experience of State government officials barring journalists from covering news events.

Journalists working in Karen State told Karen News that it hard to take serious the government’s announcements on media freedom in Burma, as the journalists are often barred from gathering news from the government officials departments in Hpa-an Township, Karen State.

At the 2nd media development conference in Rangoon on May 20-21, U Tin Shwe, a general director of the Myanmar Radio and Television Department said.

“Since we abolished the censorship board, we have let it open [up] for international media groups and the media to be able to work.”

During the ethnic media conference on April 25, Deputy Minister U Pite Htwe, from the Ministry of Information said at the conference that the Ministry of Information, will not block media freedoms and it is trying to set up new broadcasting stations such as a Union Channel, Hluttaw [Parliament] channel and a Farmers channel.

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