April 12, 2024

Press Freedom

Myanmar, {Burma}

Myanmar April 17, 2006

H.E. Than SHWE
Chairman of the State Peace
and Development Council
Office of the Chairman
Pyanmana, Capital
Union of Myanmar

Your Excellency:

As members of the Overseas Press Club of America, we write for the second time within a month to protest your government’s offensive and misguided persecution of journalists. It has been reported that on March 27, two journalists were arrested and charged with having filmed the countryside outside the capital you have recently installed in Pyanmana — from a public bus.

One day after their arrest, Ko Thar Cho, a photo-journalist, and Ko Kyaw Thwin, a columnist at Dhamah Yate magazine, were sentenced summarily to three years in prison, under the draconian restrictions of the Television and Video act of 1996, which bars distribution of any film material without official approval. The two men have declared that they had not shot a footage of a restricted area and hope to be allowed to appeal their case.

Your Excellency, on March 8, 2006, we wrote to you protesting the threats to the life of journalist, Maung Maung KyawWin, who was forced to flee his and your country, fearing for his life. We, as members of the Overseas Press Club of America, an organization that has defended freedom of expression and the press for more than 65 years, note again that the harsh treatment and the rules that your government imposes on newspapers and their employees do no honor to your country in the larger world, where freedom of the press and expression are increasingly valued and indeed fought for.

We ask, in fact urge, that you withdraw your restrictions and your penalties, and release the journalists you are presently holding as prisoners.


Respectfully yours,
Jacqueline Albert-Simon
Larry Martz
Freedom of the Press Committee



General Khin Nyunt

Prime Minister

Office of the Prime Minister


Union of Myanmar


Ambassador U Kyaw Tint Swe

Permanent Representative

Permanent Mission of the Union of Myanmar

to the United Nations

10 East 77th Street

New York , NY 10021


U Myint Lwin

Charge d’Affaires

Embassy of the Union of Myanmar

1800 S Street, NW

Washington , DC 20008


Ms. Shari Villaroae

Charge d’Affaires

Embassy of the United States of America