Daily News-October 02 - 2001- Tuesday

  • Rumor of Former Dictator Death Whirled
  • International Network for Press Freedom Launched

  • Rumor of Former Dictator Death Whirled

    By Tin Maung Htoo
    Burma Media Association (BMA)

    October 2, 2001 Toronto-- The growing news of the death of the former Burmese dictator Ne Win in Singapore is now widely catching most of the Burma activists's attention in exile despite such pressing news is not able to justify so far.

    The news is spreading out a day after he was admitted in hospital in Singapore. A source says, "Ne Win has died today in a Singapore hospital", asserting that news could be "80% true".

    A recent report from Singapore indicated that he had arrived in Singapore for a medical treatment, citing his family but not mentioning his health condition. The 91-year-old strongman is reported to have suffered strokes many times in his lifetime and occasionally visited to Singapore for medical treatment in past decades.

    However, another source citing medical sources says that U Ne Win had a heart operation and had pacemaker put in. "This is supposed to have come from a member of the team that carried out the operation. The doctor could be lying since he would be afraid to tell the truth," a well-informed prominent Burmese opposition figure added.

    Another American Burma activist and long-time Burma observer cautiously responded to the news, saying, "he's died at least once a year for the past 30 years," but said "one time it will be true."

    But most Burmese activists are saying that, regardless of this time is true or not, this is the right time for him to go as his fate, prevailing astrology and prestige has been waned down.

    Ne Win had ruled the country for 26 years with an iron hand and ended up with an historic student-led uprising in 1988. However, most observers believe that he has been sitting behind the curtain for the existence military power in Burma as paving the way for his pocket army to take state power by cracking down nation-wide Democracy movement in September 1988.

    He was born in 1911 in Paungde and finished high school education before becoming a postal office clerk. He later joined into Independent Movement from British and then became a prominent member of "Thirty Comrades." After gaining independent and subsequent events of civil war with Communists and some ethnic rebels, he was promoted to Commander-in-Chief of the Burmese army.

    On one hand, he is widely known as an author in taking over power from U Nu's government in 1958 under the name of Caretaker government and then handed over power to the elected party in the elections after two years. In 1962, he took over power again and finally abolished 16 years-old parliamentary democracy system and since then ruled the country with one-party-rule system under the context of Socialism until 1988.
    International Network for Press Freedom Launched

    By Tin Maung Htoo
    Burma Media Association (BMA)

    October 2, 2001 Toronto-- Paris-based Reporter without Borders launches an International Network for press freedom with nine media organizations, in which Burma Media Association (BMA) becomes as a founding member of the Network, a step forward for Burmese journalists to widen the scope of their efforts to bolster press freedom in Burma.

    "Nine national and regional organizations for the defense of press freedom have decided to affiliate with Reporters Sans Frontières in an international network of co-operation and mutual aid," said in the statement obtained by BMA in recent days.

    Those nine media advocate organizations, according to the statement, are from Democratic Republic of the Congo, Argentina, Bangladesh, Burma, Pakistan, Russia, Ukraine, and Tunisia.

    In a message to BMA members around the world, the president of BMA Maung Maung Myint said that, "the BMA has now become a member of RSF-Network, and BMA's representative has been included as a member of the jury for "RSF-Foundation de France Prize". "In future", he said, "BMA and RSF are bound to closely cooperate each other in the matter of press freedom movement."

    In recent report, Reporters without Borders described Burma as a country where the most journalists are detained in Asia and is campaigning for their release. The latest effort was carried out yesterday, in which RSF collected thousands of signatures asking the immediate release of detained Burmese journalists and sent to the Burmese Embassy in Paris, RSF informed.

    Mr. Vincent Brossel who oversees Asia - Pacific Desk of RFS said that "613 people signed for release of Sein Hla Oo, 168 for Myo Myint Nyein, 80 for Sein Hlaing, 162 for Ohn Kyaing and 566 for Win Tin."

    San San Nweh, a prominent female journalist released from prison last month, was the focal point of its recent campaign after awarding RSF-Foundation de French Prize in 1999.

    Further, RFS extended its support for the nomination of another detained journalist Myo Myint Nyein by Burma Media Association for International Press Freedom Award of Canadian Journalists for Free Expression (CJFE), and his selection for the award was reported in recent days.

    In addition to the recent created Network that armed with nine regional and national press freedom advocate groups, Reporters Sans Frontières has nine national sections in Austria, Belgium France, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, Sweden and Switzerland, and four bureaus in Abidjan, Bangkok, Tokyo and Washington.