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Media Groups Accuse Burmese Authorities of Pressuring Journalists


Media rights groups are accusing Burmese authorities of pressuring local and foreign journalists, as pro-democracy demonstrators stage massive protests.

Reporters Without Borders says it and the Burma Media Association jointly accuse soldiers and police of raiding hotels in Rangoon where reporters reside and work. They say authorities checked the reporters' credentials.

In a statement, the groups say journalists still have access to the internet and telephone lines.

Also, Reporters Without Borders says a local source informed the organizations that authorities ordered the closure of several privately owned newspapers. According to the statement, those newspapers had refused to print government propaganda.

Reporters Without Borders and the Burma Media Association say they welcome the formation this week of an informal body to document the military crackdown. The statement says the group is comprised of doctors, lawyers, journalists and former military officers.

The two media groups are urging Japan to impose sanctions on Burma after the death of a Japanese journalist (identified as Kenji Nagai of the Japanese photo and video agency APF) during the crackdown.

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