Saturday, February 2, 2008

"Myanmar Arrests Blogger, Watchdog Says"

Myanmar Arrests Blogger, Watchdog Says

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.


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.

Myanmar authorities have stepped up their surveillance of the Internet since the beginning of the month, pressuring Internet cafe owners to register personal details of all users and to program screen captures every five minutes on each computer, the release said.

This data apparently is sent to the Ministry of Communications, it said.

(Hat'tip to Turkana)

Picked up from the comments section of Turkana's post:

Burma/Myanmar: After the Crackdown (International Crisis Group)


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.


China arrests leading rights activist

Chinese state security forces have arrested one of the country's most prominent civil rights activists in an apparent crackdown on dissent ahead of the Olympics.

Hu Jia - who used blogs, webcasts and video to expose human rights abuses - is expected to face charges of inciting subversion of state power, his lawyers said today.

His formal arrest comes after he was seized by police from an apartment in east Beijing on December 27. In the month since, his wife, Zeng Jinyan, and their two-month-old daughter have been prevented from leaving their home or contacting outsiders.

Anyway, here's the actual report from Reporters Without Borders:

Blogger arrested as regime steps up online surveillance

Reporters Without Borders and the Burma Media Association firmly condemn the arrest of blogger and writer Nay Myo Latt yesterday at his home in the Rangoon district of Thingankyun.

“This hounding of bloggers is unacceptable,” the two organisations said. “We do not know where Nay Bone Latt is being held. We urge the authorities to release him and to stop this persecution.”

A member of the outlawed National League for Democracy, Nay Myo Latt uses his blog ( to record the difficulties encountered by young Burmese when trying to express themselves, especially since last autumn’s protests against the military regime that were led by Buddhist monks. He also owns three Internet Cafés in Burma and one of them is located in Thingankyun.

Those arrested during the protests included blogger Thar Phyu (, who was held for several hours just for posting photos of monks and demonstrators in the streets. His website has been closed.

The Burmese authorities have stepped up their surveillance of the Internet since the start of January, reportedly pressuring Internet café owners to register the personal details (name, address and so on) of all users and to programme (and save) screen captures every five minutes on each computer. All this data is apparently then sent to the communication ministry.

The Burmese exile news agency Mizzima quoted one Internet café owner as saying: “No one wants to submit to these measures but those who are most scared definitely will have complied.”

The only blog platform that until recently had still been accessible within Burma, the Google-owned Blogger (, has been censured by the regime since 23 January. Bloggers are no longer able to post entries unless they use proxies are other ways to circumvent censorship.

“This blockage is one of the ways used by the government to reduce Burmese citizens to silence,” Reporters Without Borders and the Burma Media Association said. “They can no long post blog entries or disseminate information. Burma is in danger of being cut off from the rest of the world again.”

When contacted by Mizzima reporters, local officials had no explanation for Blogger’s inaccessibility, saying they had received no orders on the subject. Local bloggers say the authorities also leave comments on blogs to dissuade other Internet users from reading them, or sometimes redirect them to other sites. Visitors to Niknayman (, one of the most popular sites last autumn, were redirected to a porn site.

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