Myan­mar crit­i­cized for lim­ited elec­tion cov­er­age

The China Post - - ASIA -

Lo­cal and for­eign media have crit­i­cized Myan­mar’s Union Elec­tion Com­mis­sion’s con­trol on news re­port­ing.

In the let­ter to Myan­mar Press Coun­cil (In­terim), the UEC spec­i­fied that only three press mem­bers from a media in re­spec­tive town­ships are al­lowed to cover the elec­tion.

“The elec­tion is a change for the coun­try. Such lim­i­ta­tions on press cov­er­age should not be made in the tran­si­tional pe­riod to a demo­cratic na­tion,” Shwe Hmon, the chief re­porter of Tham­aga News Jour­nal, said.

Aung Hla Tun of Reuters, chair- man of Myan­mar for­eign cor­re­spon­dents club, ques­tioned the UEC’s mo­tive, say­ing that all keep a close eye on the elec­tion. If the UEC wanted to en­sure that the elec­tion would be free and fair, why is the media not al­lowed to cover the elec­tion freely, he asked.

Elec­tion ob­server groups have also ques­tioned the UEC’s mo­tive.

“The UEC al­lows only three jour­nal­ists from a media in the re­spec­tive town­ships. Its in­ten­tion is un­clear. Can the jour­nal­ists take pho­to­graphs in­side the polling sta­tion or out­side? I think there is no need to limit the num­ber of jour­nal­ists out­side the polling sta­tion. If only three jour­nal­ists near the polling sta­tion are al­lowed to cover, in my opin­ion, it seems very re­pres­sive,” Sai Ye Kyaw Swa Myint of Pace elec­tion ob­server group said.

The UEC re­vealed that media iden­tity cards would be is­sued af­ter the jour­nal­ists have al­ready signed the ac­knowl­edge­ment at­tached with the an­nounce­ment. They must also register no later than Nov. 5. The ac­knowl­edge­ment re­quired the jour­nal­ists to fol­low ex­ist­ing laws, reg­u­la­tions and in­struc­tions oc­ca­sion­ally is­sued by the Min­istry of In­for­ma­tion. Some point out that the ac­knowl­edge­ment does not con­cern the elec­tion.

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