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Rangoon-based humour magazine's October issue postponed due to heavy censorship

(Mizzima/IFEX) - The Rangoon-based humour magazine, "Pyaw Pyaw Shwin Shwin" had to postpone publication of its October 2008 issue as the censor board rejected one-fourth of its contents.

"They cannot publish in time as the censorship on this month's issue is too heavy. Most of the censored sections are from poems and stories. They are likely to suspend publishing for about two months," a person close to the magazine said. But the magazine refused to release any news regarding the censorship for fear of retaliation.

The censor board, popularly known as "Literary Kempetai," named after the Japanese military intelligence during World War 2 in Burma, did not give any reason for the censorship. But media sources speculated that the authorities censored the contents because they did not understand what the poems meant. To justify their decision, the censor board said the poems were not in accordance with the government's guidelines.

"The poems usually use cryptic language so the authorities did not know exactly what they meant. That's why they censored these manuscripts arbitrarily," a veteran magazine editor said.

Similarly, many poems from this month's issue of "Kalyar", "Cherry", "Myanmar Thit", "Mahaythi" and other magazines were also rejected.

"Many poems were censored this month. Only four poems appeared in this month's issue of "Kalyar". Only five poems were passed by the censor board out of a total of 11 submitted by "Mahaythi", while only two poems appeared in "Myanmarthit". Earlier, at least seven poems used to appear in these monthly magazines," a writer from one of the magazines said.

In July this year, editor U Htay Aung of "Cherry" magazine was forced to resign from his post by the authorities after "Depayinga", a poem written by Khin Maung Than, had appeared in the magazine. After this incident, the censor board started to impose tighter restrictions on magazines.

"A lot of censorship made magazines difficult to publish. They also lost their market as a consequence. The market is shrinking for them now," another veteran magazine editor said.

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