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Party literature cannot criticise military, says junta

(Mizzima/IFEX) - The Burmese military junta, which has rolled out harsh electoral laws for political parties, making it difficult for many to contest, has now come up with rules for printing of political parties' pamphlets, books or election-related printed matter.

Elections have been declared for this year but no date has been announced yet.

The announcement on party literature on March 17, 2010 says parties have to register for printing election-related matter with the government under the 1962 Printers and Publishers Registration Act.

For permission to print, the political party needs to seek permission from the country's notorious Press Scrutiny and Registration Board (PSRB) within 90 days after they register with the Election Commission. The party literature cannot criticize the military and the present regime, the announcement says. The printed material cannot disturb "law and order and tranquility" of the nation, it added.

Moreover, a political party has to deposit 500,000 Kyat (USD 500) for permission to print. The amount will be fully or partially forfeited by the PSRB if a party violates the stringent rules announced.

The 1962 Printers and Publishers Registration Act prohibits publications or materials that go against the interests of the government. The penalties for violators of this Act range from the banning of an article to seven years in jail.

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