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Junta gets strict on literary and academic forums

(Mizzima/IFEX) - Literary and academic talk shows and forums to be held in Rangoon will be monitored and tightly controlled by the Rangoon Division Peace and Development Council.

"We are now scrutinizing the subject of each talk show, the number of participants, among others," an officer told Mizzima on condition of anonymity.

The directive for tighter control was issued before the Armed Forces Day on 27 March 2010.

The new directive states the organizers of talk shows must submit their applications with a signed acknowledgement along with the names of resource persons, and the number of participants, among others.

A staff member of the Knowledge Bank Library, which frequently sponsors and organizes such literary talk shows said, "They checked thoroughly when I submitted the application for permission on 27 March. Earlier, they only asked for the names of the resource persons. After which they gave their permission."

Similarly such thorough scrutiny was made on applications submitted for an economics talk show and forum conducted earlier, an official of the Myanmar Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry said.

"Earlier we didn't need to apply for our forums and talk shows. But now they are thoroughly scrutinizing it," he said.

"Many talk shows and forums are usually held at hotels and they need permission and a recommendation from the authorities concerned from now on or else they cannot book the hall," a staff member from the Sedona Hotel in Rangoon said.

Pe Myint, a famous writer who is usually invited as a guest speaker at such events, said that the new directive may have an impact on writers.

"The writers will lose their freedom under tighter controls. I hope the writers can overcome the current crisis," Pe Myint said.

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