The Irrawaddy Burma Election 2010

Home NEWS Censors Bar Reporting of Suu Kyi's Voting Right

Censors Bar Reporting of Suu Kyi's Voting Right

E-mail Print PDF
Burma's press censors have barred domestic news agencies from reporting about pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi's name appearing on the electoral role in the November election, according to sources in Rangoon's media.

An executive editor from a news journal told The Irrawaddy that when private journals tried to report that Suu Kyi and her companions—Khin Khin Win and Win Ma Ma—were included in the voters' list of No.1 Golden Valley Ward, Bahan Township in Rangoon, the Ministry of Information's Press Scrutiny and Registration Division (PSRD) prevented them from doing so.

Satemedia“The PSRD didn't allow us to report about Suu Kyi getting the right to vote because it didn't want to see her name in the media. In fact, news about a person's voting right would not affect anyone,” the editor said, adding that Suu Kyi was not included when the eligible voters' list was first announced on September 20 but her name was added on Sept. 23.

On Monday, however, the English version of The Myanmar Times reported that Suu Kyi and her companions were included on the electoral roll but Suu Kyi could only cast her vote in advance since she was under house arrest. The Burmese-language edition of the same publication and other Burmese media were prevented from reporting the story.

Apart from restricting mention of Suu Kyi's name and news related to the 1990 election and the National League for Democracy on the media, the PSRD reportedly continues to bar any reporting that criticizes the 2008 Constitution and negative opinion regarding the upcoming election.

“There is no freedom of information in the country, though private media constantly struggles against the restrictions,” said a journalist in Rangoon, doubting that private media will be allowed to freely report during the election.

The PSRD issued a directive in July warning private media to be careful carrying news about the election laws and the Constitution, saying that any criticism and incorrect reporting on these issues would lead to a permanent revocation of publishing permit.

A politician in Rangoon said that without media freedom the coming election in Burma cannot be free and fair.

The PSRD also reportedly forced news journals to carry articles saying that calling for an election boycott contravenes the election law and can be punished with a 5-20 year prison term and a 100,000 kyat [US $107] fine.

The PSRD reportedly also censored news about the Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) using the state budget for election campaign activities such as road construction and giving out loans and has removed news related to the number of confirmed voters for the USDP and its attempt to collect advance votes.

Thirty-seven political parties, including the USDP lead by the military regime's incumbent premier Thein Sein, will contest the election on Nov. 7.


Nyan_win80"Once her [Aung San Suu Kyi's] sentence expires in November, and that notion is not disputed, it is our understanding that she will have served her sentence."
—Nyan Win, the foreign minister of Burma


Will you vote or boycott the Nov. 7 election?




Burma Population Data


Elected Seats in Parliaments