Monday, November 17, 2008

Blogger charged under emergency law

(JPEG) Nay Phone Latt, the blogger and Internet café owner who has been held at the interior ministry since 29 January, has been charged under section 5 (J) of the Emergency Provision Act of 1950.

It provides for up to seven years’ imprisonment for anyone who “causes or intends to disrupt the morality or the behaviour of a group of people or the general public, or to disrupt the security or the reconstruction of stability of the union.” Adopted two years after independence, the law is often applied to journalists and writers.

07.02 - Blogger has been held in interior ministry for past week

After learning that blogger and Internet café owner Nay Phone Latt is being held in the interior ministry, Reporters Without Borders today called on the authorities to say what charges have been brought against him. Nay Phone Latt was arrested on 29 January together with several members of the opposition National League for Democracy (NLD).

“The military regime shows no mercy to bloggers because they are a vital source of information about conditions inside Burma,” the press freedom organisation said. “Last autumn’s Internet blackout already showed us to what degree the Internet is a political tool that must be preserved at all cost.”

Three NLD members who were freed after being questioned for four days - Thi Han, Nyi Nyi Min and Htein Win - told the international media on 4 February that they saw Nay Phone Latt in the interior ministry but were unable to talk to him. They know nothing at all about the conditions in which he is being held. His family fears he may have been tortured or mistreated.

29.01 - Blogger arrested as regime steps up online surveillance

(JPEG) Reporters Without Borders and the Burma Media Association firmly condemn the arrest of blogger and writer Nay Phone Latt yesterday at his home in the Rangoon district of Thingankyun.

“This hounding of bloggers is unacceptable,” the two organisations said. “We do not know where Nay Phone Latt is being held. We urge the authorities to release him and to stop this persecution.”

A member of the outlawed National League for Democracy, Nay Phone Latt uses his blog ( to record the difficulties encountered by young Burmese when trying to express themselves, especially since last autumn’s protests against the military regime that were led by Buddhist monks. He also owns three Internet Cafés in Burma and one of them is located in Thingankyun.

Those arrested during the protests included blogger Thar Phyu (, who was held for several hours just for posting photos of monks and demonstrators in the streets. His website has been closed.

The Burmese authorities have stepped up their surveillance of the Internet since the start of January, reportedly pressuring Internet café owners to register the personal details (name, address and so on) of all users and to programme (and save) screen captures every five minutes on each computer. All this data is apparently then sent to the communication ministry.

The Burmese exile news agency Mizzima quoted one Internet café owner as saying: “No one wants to submit to these measures but those who are most scared definitely will have complied.”

The only blog platform that until recently had still been accessible within Burma, the Google-owned Blogger (, has been censured by the regime since 23 January. Bloggers are no longer able to post entries unless they use proxies are other ways to circumvent censorship.

“This blockage is one of the ways used by the government to reduce Burmese citizens to silence,” Reporters Without Borders and the Burma Media Association said. “They can no long post blog entries or disseminate information. Burma is in danger of being cut off from the rest of the world again.”

When contacted by Mizzima reporters, local officials had no explanation for Blogger’s inaccessibility, saying they had received no orders on the subject. Local bloggers say the authorities also leave comments on blogs to dissuade other Internet users from reading them, or sometimes redirect them to other sites. Visitors to Niknayman (, one of the most popular sites last autumn, were redirected to a porn site.

(ဤသတင္းကိုမွ ရယူသည္။)


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