YANGON - Dozens of journalists marched in Myanmar to protest the suspension of two journals amid fears officials are rowing back on pledges to ease strict censorship laws. The Voice Weekly and The Envoy were suspended last week for failing to submit stories for pre-publication scrutiny, the chief censor told AFP, adding the “temporary suspension” may last for a fortnight. The reporters, many wearing black T-shirts emblazoned with the slogan “Stop Killing (the) Press” in Burmese and English marched to several sites across Yangon.
, including the two publishing houses behind the suspended weeklies. Stifling censorship was one of the key symbols of junta-led Myanmar, where even seemingly innocuous details were scrubbed from public discussion and publications were frequently pulled for comments deemed damaging to the authoritarian rulers. The government had recently taken a lighter touch on some of the less controversial publications as part of reforms sweeping the former army-ruled nation, prompting some editors to test the boundaries of the new found freedoms. In June Tint Swe, head of the Press Scrutiny and Registration Department (PSRD), told AFP there “will be no press scrutiny job” from the end of that month, also insisting there will “be no monitoring” of local journals and magazines. A petition by the newly-formed press freedom committee called for an end to all “oppressive” media laws.