IFJ alarmed at clampdown on information in Burma

 The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) is disturbed at the escalating clampdown on free media in Burma this year.

According to local reports, the Burmese military junta has escalated its campaign of tapping landlines and cutting off the mobile phone lines of journalists, activists and politicians.

The main victims include foreign correspondents, local media and activists known for regular media appearances.

IFJ Asia-Pacific director Jacqueline Park said the junta’s crackdown appears to be an attempt to stifle the flow of information from within Burma to international media.

“It is cause for concern when any ruling party or government seeks to forcibly control or stop the flow of information within and out of its country,” Park said.

“By depriving the people of accurate information and freedom of expression, the military junta will only force them to look for other alternatives.”

The interference with phone lines since early September follows the banning of hundreds of websites and blogs including CNN.

Video-sharing site YouTube has been completely blocked since September 3.

The internet censorship is believed to be an attempt to prevent the people of Burma from mobilizing for the unprecedented number of public protests the country has recently seen.

The IFJ urges immediate action to reverse the clampdown on freedom of expression in Burma.

“The junta cannot expect to be taken seriously by the international community when civil and human rights are denied so blithely,” Park said.

“The monitoring of phone lines must stop, and the people of Burma and the world must be free to express and access vital information as a matter of urgency.”

For further information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific on +61 2 9333 0919

The IFJ represents over 500,000 journalists in more than 115 countries