The international group Reporters Without Borders has written to the head of the Association of South East Asian Nations-ASEAN, urging him to prevent Burma's assumption of the ASEAN presidency.
The letter, dated today-Friday, recounts curbs on free expression in Burma, including the continued detention of journalists by the military government, and its censorship of the press.
It says the military government "shamelessly abuses the judicial system" to undermine access to news and information. It said the recent release of some 300 political prisoners should not obscure political repression.
Burma is to assume the rotating ASEAN presidency in July, 2006. Reporters Without Borders notes that ASEAN's members are bound by their founding declaration to respect the rule of law, and the letter says ASEAN Secretary-General Ong Keng Yong of Singapore has a duty to insist that member governments adhere to their commitments.