Reporters Without Borders (RSF) and the Burma Media Association have condemned the arrests of dozens of dissidents for their involvement in distributing newspapers banned by the junta. U Thaung, president of the Burma Media Association, told VOA that it is wrong in every sense to arrest people involved in the media for simply distributing banned publications.
Reporters Without Borders and Burma Media Association Thursday called for the release of all those imprisoned for possessing newspapers that have been banned by the ruling junta.
Their announcement followed Burma's release of 31 more political prisoners, including seven members of the main opposition National League for Democracy Party. It is one of the largest in a recent series of releases, and comes one week before a United Nations human rights envoy is set to visit. Brazilian academic Paulo Sergio Pinheiro is due in Burma for a 10-day visit on October 17th.
Reporters Without Borders, an international media watchdog, and the Burma Media Association said an end to censorship would serve as an unprecedented gesture of openness in Burma.
They also asked the country's home affairs minister to do all he can to persuade the government to allow the National League for Democracy to launch a newspaper.
Mr. Pinheiro has visited the country three times, but this will be the first time since the release from house arrest last May of opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi. Burma's government says it invited him.
In April, the U-N envoy submitted a report to the United Nations, saying conditions had improved for political prisoners in Burma's jail. He called for the immediate release of all political detainees.