Media coverage of monks' protest restricted

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) has expressed its displeasure at the actions taken by the Burmese junta in restricting media coverage of the mass protests being held across the country.

Journalists have met with hostility from the local police force, who are attempting to restrict coverage of the peaceful protests organised by Burmese civilians against the oppressive military regime.

Hundreds of Buddhist monks have recently joined the marches, gaining widespread attention from the international community.

Footage of the protests have been hard to come by, as cameras and memory cards were seized by plain-clothed police during media coverage of the protests.

IFJ Asia Pacific Director Jacqueline Park described the police department’s response as ‘disgraceful’, and urged them to be wary of journalists’ rights.

‘‘This is an extremely heavy-handed way to deal with the media, and the international journalistic community will not stand for it,’’ Park said.

‘‘This attempted stifling of Burma’s voice will not be tolerated and any material properties seized should be immediately returned.’’

On many occasions, the police have resorted to violence in an attempt to break-up the protests, and hundreds of demonstrators have been arrested since beginning their march in August.

The monks were motivated to join the protest in response to the recent beating of a group of fellow monks, along with supporting calls for an end to the violent suppression of the demonstrations.

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

The IFJ represents over 600,000 journalists in 114 countries