Although censorship has been lifted, the censorship bureau, called the Press Scrutiny and Registration Division (PSRD), has still not been disbanded and still wields a great deal of repressive power because it can still suspend any weekly that publishes “forbidden” content.
In the absence of a law providing the media with effective protection, there is a real danger of journalists censoring themselves after decades of government censorship. Officials have not shed their repressive tendencies, as witnessed by the many legal proceedings against privately-owned weeklies in 2012.
The report draws attention to the dangers of media sector transformation without an appropriate legal framework, to the specific problems of exile media that have returned to Burma, and to the lack of adequate media coverage of the humanitarian crisis in the western province of Arakan.
Reporters Without Borders calls on the Burmese government to curb lawsuits against the media and to support the rapid repeal of repressive laws and adoption of a media law that respects freedom of information. It encourages the Burmese media to increase their interaction with the various journalists’ associations and unions in order to revitalize the media sector and defend its interests. And finally, Reporters Without Borders urges the international community to condition its assistance on respect for fundamental freedoms, especially freedom of information.