Cablegate: No News Is Good News - Burmese Government Censors

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.




E.O. 12958: N/A

1. (U) The Burmese government is now censoring or controlling
distribution of some foreign periodicals that are normally
sold with official authorization in Burma. This is an effort
to remove international reports of the May 30 attack on the
National League for Democracy (NLD) convoy in Depeyin and
subsequent detainment of Aung San Suu Kyi and the leadership
of the NLD.

2. (U) TIME and NEWSWEEK, which are distributed by a local
bookstore, were censored by the Burmese Press Scrutiny Board
to eliminate any such reports. We have attempted to locate
and buy the June 16 and June 23 issues of TIME, with no
success (Note: the June 16 issue of TIME featured a photo of
some of the bloody clothing and weapons that Embassy officers
recovered at the site of the May 30 attack. End Note.). The
June 16 issue of NEWSWEEK is available - minus pages 15-18
containing the article "The Missing Lady", written by Joe
Cochrane (although the magazine's Table of Contents lists the
article beside a picture of Aung San Suu Kyi). Other popular
foreign periodicals, such as the English language editions of
the major Thai dailies, the "Bangkok Nation" and the "Bangkok
Post", continue to be sold uncensored (although several days
old) on the streets of Rangoon.

3. (U) These foreign publications, together with
international broadcasters such as VOA, RFA and BBC, are a
vital source of information for Burmese, who cannot read
reliable reports in the vernacular press. The only reporting
on the events of May 30 they have seen in the
government-controlled press have been articles blaming any
"unrest" on the actions of the NLD and repeating the
government's dubious numbers of death and casualties.

4) (U) The Embassy American Center makes uncensored versions
of major international periodicals such as TIME, NEWSWEEK,
International Herald Tribune, and many others, available to
the public six days a week. Burmese journalists and others
continue to keep abreast of events inside their country by
reading these foreign media at the American Center. In
recent weeks, the American Center Library has been even more
crowded than usual, particularly with students whose
universities were shut following the May 30 ambush.

© Scoop Media

World Headlines


Myanmar: UN Condemns Escalating Violence In Deadliest Day Of Protests So Far

In response to the killing of at least 18 protesters demonstrating against Myanmar’s military coup, the UN human rights office (OHCHR) on Sunday together with the UN chief, strongly condemned the “escalating violence” and called for an immediate end to the use of force... More>>

Syria: Economic Decline, Rising Hunger And Surging Humanitarian Needs

Syria’s fragile economy has “suffered multiple shocks” over the past 18 months, with its currency plummeting and joblessness swelling as people struggle to cover their basic needs, the UN Emergency Relief Coordinator told the Security Council ... More>>

OECD: Final Quarter Of 2020 Shows Continued Recovery In G20 International Merchandise Trade

G20 international merchandise trade continued to rebound in the fourth quarter of 2020 ( exports up 7.2% and imports up 6.8%), following the sharp falls seen in the first half of 2020, as lockdown measures affected trade globally. Although growth ... More>>

Focus On: UN SDGs

UNFCCC: Greater Climate Ambition Urged As Initial NDC Synthesis Report Is Published

UN Climate Change today published the Initial NDC Synthesis Report, showing nations must redouble efforts and submit stronger, more ambitious national climate action plans in 2021 if they’re to achieve the Paris Agreement goal of limiting global temperature rise by 2°C—ideally 1.5°C—by the end of the century... More>>

2021: Critical Year To ‘reset Our Relationship With Nature’ – UN Chief

During this time of “crisis and fragility”, the UN chief told the United Nations Environment Assembly on Monday that human well-being and prosperity can be vastly improved by prioritizing nature-based solutions. Painting a picture of the turmoil ... More>>

Paris Agreement: UN Secretary-General António Guterres To Mark U.S. Reentry With Envoy For Climate John Kerry

Watch live at UN Secretary-General António Guterres will join U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John F. Kerry at an event marking the United States’ reentry into the Paris Agreement this Friday. The discussion with the Secretary-General ... More>>