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Indian authorities reopen Mizzima News headquarters

(Mizzima/IFEX) - The following is a statement from Mizzima News, an interim member of IFEX:

Indian authorities reopen Mizzima head office

Indian authorities have allowed Burmese news agency Mizzima News to resume operations at its head office in New Delhi after finding that the online daily run by exiled Burmese journalists is not operating commercially in a residential area.

Mr. Deepak Hastir, deputy commissioner of the Municipal Council of Delhi (MCD) and member of the Sealing Monitoring Committee, made the decision after representatives from Mizzima met with the chief engineer of the MCD west zone, Mr. Naveen Verma, on 18 April 2007.

The meeting took place after some 50 Mizzima staff members and supporters held a peaceful demonstration outside the MCD office.

Mr. Verma told Mizzima managing editor Mr. Sein Win that the Committee decided to reopen Mizzima's office as an exceptional case, on the ground that it is not a commercial venture.

After the meeting, a junior engineer from the MCD accompanied representatives from Mizzima to their office and broke the seal that was placed by the authorities on 16 April, apparently in objection to Mizzima's operations in a residential area.

Mizzima, while rejoicing over the outcome of the demonstration, credits the success in getting back its office to the solidarity shown by its support groups and media advocacy groups, especially the Southeast Asian Press Alliance (SEAPA), International Freedom of Expression Exchange (IFEX), Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), Burma News International (BMI), Burma Media Association (BMA) and International Press Institute (IPI), and for writing their concerns to Indian Home Minister Mr. Shivraj Patil.

While Mizzima is grateful to the MCD and thanks the authority for understanding the nature of Mizzima's activity and for reopening its office, it also expresses its appreciation to the Indian government for its role in the matter.

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