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Authorities suppress magazine story about critical editor

(Mizzima/IFEX) - The Burmese Ministry of Information has suppressed an 80-page article about prominent Burmese journalist Oway U Nyo Mya, written for "Padaukpwinthit" magazine.

The story on U Nyo Mya, who was also editor of "Oway" magazine - the mouthpiece of the Students' Union during Burma's anti-colonial struggle - and an intimate friend of Burma's independence hero General (Bogyoke) Aung San, was supposed to be the cover story for the July 2008 issue of "Padaukpwinthit". The story discusses the journalist's involvement in the student movement, his life and views, and testimonies from his contemporaries and politicians.

"This month's issue of the magazine had over 200 pages, of which more than 80 have been censored. The authorities said that these pages are now being suspended from publication and might be allowed to be published at the end of the year," said a magazine editor who is close to the Burmese literary circle and who wishes not to be named.

The authorities provided the magazine no explanation as to why it suppressed the cover story, but literary figures speculate that the censorship was imposed in anticipation of the upcoming anniversary of the popular uprising, on 8 August.

"'Oway' magazine was the mouthpiece of the Students' Union and the student movement at the time [of the uprising]. The government usually censors such articles from time to time. The anniversary of the 88 Uprising will be held next month," said a veteran magazine editor, who wished to remain anonymous.

The censorship board only informed the magazine about the decision to censor the article after a delay of over a month. The magazine replaced the original story with another on writer Bamaw Tin Aung.

This is not the first time "Padaukpwinthit" magazine has been censored. The government ordered the removal of a previous cover story on the renowned writer, literary guru and architect of domestic peace, Thakin Kodaw Hmaing, in one of its 2007 issues. Although the magazine began publishing in 1991, it has managed to publish only 31 issues as of 2008.

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