Friday, May 22, 2009

Sales of state-run newspapers surge during trial

People should buy a cup of tea instead of local newspaper

(DVB)–Government-run newspapers in Burma have reported unusually high sales since the trials of Aung San Suu Kyi and US citizen John Yettaw began on Monday.

News of Yettaw’s visit earlier this month to the house where Suu Kyi has been held under house arrest for the last six years has been closely followed in international media.

Yet the trial has received a muted response in Burma’s state-run newspapers, failing even to make headline news.

This however hasn’t prevented a surge in the number of Burmese people buying the state-run Myanma Ahlin and Kyemon newspapers, particularly on Wednesday when the government allowed journalists and diplomats into the courtroom to observe the hearings.

“Normally, no one really bothers to buy these newspapers but on [Wednesday] they were already sold out [by] the morning,” said a Rangoon resident.

The editor of a news journal in Rangoon reported earlier today that journalists working for private-owned publications, Bi-Weekly and Myanmar Times, were being prevented from publishing detail other than that already being said in government media.

“All the facts included in Bi-Weekly journal’s coverage were the same as the government newspapers, apart from a small difference in writing style and the headline,” said the editor, speaking under condition of anonymity.

“There was nothing new from what was aired on government television MRTV on Wednesday evening.”

Reporting by Naw Noreen

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