8 May 2008


Exile media, undercover reporters keep information flowing despite tight restrictions, shows CPJ report

(CPJ/IFEX) - The following is a 7 May 2008 CPJ press release:

Burma's Firewall Fighters
CPJ Special Report:

Exile media and undercover reporters keep news flowing

New York, May 7, 2008 - Exile-run media outlets and their undercover, in-country reporters have managed to keep independent news and information flowing from Burma despite tight restrictions imposed by the military government, the Committee to Protect Journalists says in a special report released today. Firewall Fighters details how exile-run organizations such as The Irrawaddy and Mizzima have provided independent coverage of politics, policies, and natural disasters such as the devastating May 2-3 cyclone.

Exile-run news organizations fill a critical news gap left by Burma's highly controlled domestic media, CPJ's Shawn Crispin writes. Local newspapers are censored by state authorities before publication, while broadcast media are monopolized by the military.

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 Burmese 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 organizations, the local population and the world in order to help those in need," said CPJ Executive Director Joel Simon.

CPJ is a New York-based, independent, nonprofit organization that works to safeguard press freedom worldwide. For more information, visit http://www.cpj.org
For further information on information restrictions in the wake of the cyclone, see: http://www.ifex.org/en/content/view/full/93508


Committee to Protect Journalists
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