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Soldiers raid foreign journalists' hotels, shut down newspapers

(RSF/IFEX) - Reporters Without Borders and the Burma Media Association (BMA) have condemned new attempts by Burma's military rulers to exert pressure on foreign journalists and the Burmese media.

On 27 September 2007, soldiers and police descended on several hotels in Rangoon, including Traders Hotel, to check the IDs of foreign journalists there. Internet and international phone lines are still open at these hotels.

A local source said that on 27 September the regime ordered the closure of several privately-owned newspapers that refused to print government propaganda. A few days ago, military censors threatened reprisals against papers that refused to obey government orders.

Reporters Without Borders and the BMA also called on Japan to impose sanctions on the regime after the death of cameraman Kenji Nagai, of the Japanese photo and video agency APF News. Pictures put out by Reuters news agency very clearly show him being shot by a soldier even though he was easily identifiable as a journalist because of his camera.

The two organisations welcomed the creation in Burma on 24 September of a group of journalists, lawyers, doctors and former military officers to document the current atrocities by the regime's security forces and take the evidence before international courts so those responsible can be punished.

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