Press freedom body urges Myanmar to allow entry to scribes

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New York, May 8 (UNI) Reporters have managed to keep independent news and information flowing from Myanmar despite tight restrictions imposed by the military government, the Committee to Protect Journalists said in a special report.

The report was released yesterday in New York, where the committee is based.

Details of how exiles-run organisations such as The Irrawaddy and Mizzima have provided independent coverage of politics, policies and natural disasters such as the devastating cyclone recently.

Shawn Crispin of the committee wrote. Local newspapers are censored by state authorities before publication, while broadcast media are monopolised by the ruling military junta.

The vital role of the exile-run media is highlighted by its coverage of Cyclone Nargis, which challenged official accounts of the storm and provided the world with a glimpse into the devastation.

CPJ is calling on Myanmar authorities to allow journalists into the country to cover the devastation caused by the cyclone and to let local journalists report the news without fear of reprisal.

"Independent observers such as journalists play a critical role in a crisis like this informing aid organisations, the local population and the world in order to help those in need," Executive Director Joel Simon of the committee said.

The committee is an independent, nonprofit organisation that works to safeguard press freedom worldwide.

UNI XC NC KP0919

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