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Censors ban weekly journal

(MIZZIMA/IFEX) - On 21 August 2009, Burma's Censorship Board banned the Rangoon-based weekly journal "Phoenix", citing violations of censorship rules and regulations.

The Censorship Board, under the Burmese Ministry of Information, said that the weekly journal, which was published every Thursday, has been banned because the publication was found to have violated the rules set by the board.

"Yes, it has been put up on the notice board that the weekly has been banned from publishing," a Censorship Board official said, but declined to provide details of the rule violations.

A "Phoenix" journal manager, however, said, "Our officials are still trying to negotiate to have the publication licence re-instated. But there is only about a 30 per cent chance that we will be allowed to publish."

"Phoenix", which has been publishing for only about seven months, was also previously banned from publishing one of its issues, which carried news and articles sensitive to censorship.

The notice, which was signed by the director of the Censorship Board, Maj. Tint Swe, states that the weekly was banned for violating the censorship rules and regulations time and again. The notice was circulated on 20 August and was put up on the notice board on 21 August.

The publisher of the "Phoenix" is a former air force officer, Maj. Mar-J, who is also popularly known as writer Mar-J. He was removed from his official post after writing satires on the Burmese junta's shift of the capital to Naypyitaw. His writings were also banned from being published in any journals or publications.

"It looks like he (Mar-J) was marked, and when the journal violated the rules it gave the authorities an opportunity to get even with him. If they had worked within the framework of the rules, I do not think there would be any problems," an editor with another local weekly journal in Rangoon told Mizzima.

Sources close to the "Phoenix" journal said that nearly 20 employees have lost their jobs as a result of the publication's closure.
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