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Censors lighten their touch on Myanmar's media

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Despite the new freedoms – and a promise to replace the old law of "pre-censorship" with a new system under which publications will be "reviewed" after they hit the newsstands – the country's censors, known officially as the Press Scrutiny and Registration Department (PSRD), still require all publications to submit political news content to them for vetting prior to publication. 

At the Myanmar Times, the sole foreign-backed publication, an editor who asked not to be named, as reforms in Myanmar are still at the early stages, displayed a draft of the latest weekly edition, returned by the PSRD with red ink circling sections that could not be published. 

A sentence that the PSRD ordered cut, which was from a Reuters wire story about Myanmar's new parliament, read, “derided as a well-choreographed sham in one of the world's most authoritarian countries when it opened a year ago.”

To be sure, the editor says, “writing about corruption is difficult, as is writing anything criticizing the Constitution.”

Aung San Suu Kyi in pictures

However, articles that would have been unthinkable a year ago, he explains, are making it past the censors, including pieces looking at the international reaction to reforms and detailed reporting on the views of Aung San Suu Kyi, the high-profile opposition leader who will run in an April 1 by-election for parliament. 

The promise of a new media law

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