Burma may be showing signs of easing authoritarian rule. Recently, the country opens its doors to the press, engages in conversations with pro democracy leader, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and welcomed both UN representative, Quintana and US envoy, Derek Mitchell for talks in the country.
The military regime is known for its censorship. The government heavily monitored the country and censored its citizens- thus blocking websites that criticized the junta. However, within the recent weeks, banned news websites, including Voice of America and the British Broadcasting Corporation are now accessible in the country. The social media-video sharing site, Youtube is also among one of the unblocked sites.
President Thein Sein in mid August also invited Burmese exiles back into the country. However, many question the motives of the military regime. People question why exiles are invited back into Burma while there are political prisoners still languishing in the country’s jails. Activists say they urge the release of the 2,000 political prisoners, if there is a true call for regime change. Critics of the junta have conveyed caution and doubts on the government’s recent actions, but could these gestures by the government- of opening engagement- be signs of the government’s willingness to reform?
Although Burma is named one of the most restricted countries in the world, in relation to press freedom, the government invited international media into the country on September 15th, the first time when the government marked and recognized the UN’s International Democracy Day. VOA Burmese Editor, Khin Soe Win went into Naypyidaw, Burma to cover International Democracy Day, and she spoke with parliament members as well as military officials on their roles in parliament. This was the first time that VOA visited the country in 15 years. Watch the report here:
Do you think that the Burmese parliament is giving signs of reform?