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New censorship imposed by ministry responsible for railways

(Mizzima News/IFEX) - As of January 2010, all films and videos shot at locations associated with the Burmese Railways have to be submitted to the Myanmar Rail Film and Video Scrutiny Board, a senior Rail Ministry official said.

The order is tantamount to the production of all films, videos and musical tracks/CDs going through two separate censor boards in both the pre-production and post-production stages.

"If the location for the shooting for films and videos is at places related to the railways, the producers must first seek permission from the ministry, after which they have to submit their film and video to the rail censor board," an officer who did not want to be named told Mizzima.

Normally, censorship of films and videos is conducted by the Myanmar Film and Video Censor Board.

The new regulation makes it mandatory for films and videos which have already passed through the rail censor board to be submitted again to the Myanmar Film and Video Censor Board for final approval.

The Myanmar Rail Film and Video Scrutiny Board was set up by the Rail Ministry in November 2009.

The restricted locations which need to be cleared by the rail censor board are all major railway stations, small railway stations, railway coaches and railway tracks. The producers also have to pay taxes to the ministry after they obtain permission.

Film director Aung Ko Latt said, "We have to ask for permission to shoot at some pagodas and some other places. Now the Rail Ministry has imposed another restriction to suit its needs. There are restrictions everywhere and we have to cope with all these hurdles."

The state-run "New Light of Myanmar" reported early in January 2010 that there are a total of 433 passenger and freight trains and 840 railway stations in Burma.

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