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Censors prohibit media from reporting on murder case

(Mizzima/IFEX) - Local weekly journals in Rangoon said they have been prohibited from publishing follow-up news on a murder case that took place in Botahtaung Township in Rangoon in early April 2009.

Despite Botahtaung police station and Rangoon division police confirming the arrest of an individual accused of killing a husband and wife, they have warned local journals not to publish additional information concerning the case, an editor of a Rangoon-based weekly told Mizzima.

"They have openly warned us not to report about follow-up news regarding the case. I have tried various means to persuade them otherwise, but they have even threatened to arrest me," said the editor, referring to the strict censorship board, which maintains tight control over local publications.

In early April, Aye Aye Win, daughter of a retired military officer, and her husband, Khin Maung Lay, a sailor, were both found dead inside their residence in Botahtaung Township.

On 20 April, a police officer in Botahtaung police station told Mizzima they had arrested a murder suspect on 15 April and were interrogating him. But the officer declined to provide further details, other than to state he is an important individual.

Editors and reporters of local weeklies in Rangoon believe the murderer could be related to military officials, which is why they have been restricted from reporting further on the case.

News of the murder was reported in early April by at least three journals - "Weekly Eleven", "7 Day News" and "The Voice".

One local journal has, however, indicated that they have submitted their paper to the censorship board including of follow-up news on the arrest, though it remains to be seen whether or not authorities will permit publication of the edition.

Authorities have strictly controlled media in Burma since 1962 after General Ne Win took power. Lack of press freedom within the country is still challenging for journalists, bloggers and citizen journalists.

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