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Burma

2009

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Demonstrators demand the release of documentary filmmaker Dhondup Wangchen, jailed in China after interviewing Tibetans. (AFP)

New York, December 8, 2009—Freelancers now make up nearly 45 percent of all journalists jailed worldwide, a dramatic recent increase that reflects the evolution of the global news business, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. In its annual census of imprisoned journalists, CPJ found a total of 136 reporters, editors, and photojournalists behind bars on December 1, an increase of 11 from the 2008 tally. (Read detailed accounts of each imprisoned journalist.) A massive crackdown in Iran, where 23 journalists are now in jail, fueled the worldwide increase.

A basement in the gray, Gothic heart of the University of Toronto is home to the CSI of cyberspace. “We are doing free expression forensics,” says Ronald Deibert, director of the Citizen Lab, based at the Munk Centre for International Studies. Deibert and his team of academics and students investigate in real time governments and companies that restrict what we see and hear on the Internet. They are also trying to help online journalists and bloggers slip the shackles of censorship and surveillance. Deibert is a co-founder of the OpenNet Initiative (ONI), a project of the Citizen Lab in collaboration with the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard Law School. ONI tracks the blocking and filtering of the Internet around the globe.

New York, October 29, 2009—The Committee to Protect Journalists strongly condemns and calls for the immediate release of freelance journalist and blogger Pai Soe Oo, who was detained by government authorities on Wednesday for questioning. 

New York, September 22, 2009—The Committee to Protect Journalists welcomes the release of two journalists as part of a mass amnesty in Burma, but calls upon the military-run government to release the other 12 reporters it still holds in detention. 

PBS's "Wide Angle" aired "Eyes of the Storm" last week, a documentary on Cyclone Nargis and its aftermath. Like Anders Ostergaard's recent film "Burma VJ" on citizen reporters during the monk-led protests in 2007, which we wrote about in April, "Wide Angle" contrasts independent reports filmed at great risk with the junta's state media claims that aid was under control. 

Blogging in Burma is nearly as dangerous as protesting on the streets against the country's military-run government. So it will come as no surprise to those who closely monitor Burma's heavily restricted media and censored Internet that CPJ has ranked the country as the worst place in the world to be a blogger. 

CPJ names the worst online oppressors. Booming online cultures in many Asian and Middle Eastern nations have led to aggressive government repression. Burma leads the dishonor roll.




In our special report, “10 Worst Countries to be a Blogger,” CPJ names the world’s leading online oppressors. Here, Deputy Director Robert Mahoney explains why CPJ undertook this report and how it arrived at its conclusions. Listen to the mp3 on the player above, or right click here to download. (5:34)  

"Get that guy--he's a reporter." The order, shouted in Burmese amid the chilling sound of gunfire, can be heard in the preview of the new documentary, "Burma VJ: Reporting from a Closed Country" by Danish filmmaker Anders Ostergaard. The preview also includes the now-notorious footage of a Burmese soldier fatally shooting Japanese cameraman Kenji Nagai at point blank as the journalist filmed the 2007 monk-led uprising known as the Saffron Revolution. 

"If nobody goes, then somebody has to go." That, according to his editors at APF News, was the personal motto of fallen Japanese video journalist Kenji Nagai, who until his tragic death had reported from conflict zones around the world. That journalistic drive put Nagai in the line of fire during Burma's 2007 Saffron Revolution, when he was shot and killed by a soldier while filming a government crackdown on street demonstrations in the old capital of Rangoon.

 

2009

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Killed in Burma

3 journalists killed since 1992

Attacks on the Press 2012

0 Imprisoned in December 2012 after government releases 12 journalists in historic shift.

Country data, analysis »

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Program Coordinator:
Bob Dietz

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Fax: 212-465-9568

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