Burmese Blogger Arrested

Burma hasn’t been much in the news, lately, but things have not gotten any better. Essentially, the violent crackdown on dissidents succeeded. Months ago. And it continues.

This is a seemingly small story, but one of which every political blogger should take notice. From the Associated Press:

Myanmar’s junta has stepped up surveillance of the Internet, arresting one blogger who wrote about the stifling of free expression in the military-ruled nation, a media advocacy group said.

The blogger, Nay Myo Latt, was taken into custody in Yangon on Wednesday after writing about the suppression of freedoms following last fall’s crushing of pro-democracy demonstrations, Reporters Without Borders said.

Despite international condemnation and pressure following the demonstrations, there is little evidence that the junta is easing its repressive rule or moving closer to reconciliation with pro-democracy forces led by Suu Kyi.

The arrested blogger, a member of Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy, owns three Internet cafes, Paris-based Reporters Without Borders said in a release seen Thursday.


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  1. … terrible news.

    • srkp23 on February 2, 2008 at 03:35

    I was just reading the International Crisis Group’s just-released report with recommendations for international action: “Burma/Myanmar: After the Crackdown”.

    From the summary:

    The violent crushing of protests led by Buddhist monks in Burma/Myanmar in late 2007 has caused even allies of the military government to recognise that change is desperately needed. China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) have thrown their support behind the efforts by the UN Secretary-General’s special envoy to re-open talks on national reconciliation, while the U.S. and others have stepped up their sanctions. But neither incomplete punitive measures nor intermittent talks are likely to bring about major reforms. Myanmar’s neighbours and the West must press together for a sustainable process of national reconciliation. This will require a long-term effort by all who can make a difference, combining robust diplomacy with serious efforts to address the deep-seated structural obstacles to peace, democracy and development.

    The protests in August-September and, in particular, the government crackdown have shaken up the political status quo, the international community has been mobilised to an unprecedented extent, and there are indications that divergences of view have grown within the military. The death toll is uncertain but appears to have been substantially higher than the official figures, and the violence has profoundly disrupted religious life across the country. While extreme violence has been a daily occurrence in ethnic minority populated areas in the border regions, where governments have faced widespread armed rebellion for more than half a century, the recent events struck at the core of the state and have had serious reverberations within the Burman majority society, as well as the regime itself, which it will be difficult for the military leaders to ignore.

    While these developments present important new opportunities for change, they must be viewed against the continuance of profound structural obstacles. The balance of power is still heavily weighted in favour of the army, whose top leaders continue to insist that only a strongly centralised, military-led state can hold the country together. There may be more hope that a new generation of military leaders can disown the failures of the past and seek new ways forward. But even if the political will for reform improves, Myanmar will still face immense challenges in overcoming the debilitating legacy of decades of conflict, poverty and institutional failure, which fuelled the recent crisis and could well overwhelm future governments as well.

  2. In the Middle East and today The Guardian reported that civil rights blogger Hu Jia was arrested by Chinese authorities.

    Has a political blogger been arrested yet in the West? Only a matter of time…

  3. Wonder what can be done to support the blogger??

  4. “McCarthy would have loved SB 1959

    Oh yeah, this slipped under the traditional media radar too:

    The Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act of 2007, a.k.a. Senate Bill 1959. This masterpiece sailed through Congress in October (only six nays – three R, three D, Kucinich among them) and is currently in front of the Senate Homeland Security Committee.

    The bill would establish a commission similar to Joseph McCarthy’s House Un-American Activities Committee and could potentially make any sort of political dissent or controversial religious display illegal. Even thinking about such things could get you in trouble.”


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