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Solidarity with Democratic Voice of
Subject: Solidarity with Democratic Voice of Burma
Solidarity with the Democratic Voice of Burma (D V B)
Background: The management committee of the D V B has steadily and continuously
strived by all possible means to improve the quality of broadcasting reception
Burma. The latest attempt was made a couple of months ago with the German
(Deutsche Telekom), which seemed to be quite promising and encouraging.
We are much obliged to the German Telecom for the willingness and understanding
our democratic cause. Unexpectedly, the following press information was released
October 22 1996 by German Wave (Deutsche Welle) in Cologne:
"German Foreign Ministry vetoes Deutsche Telekom contract with exiled Burmese
station backed by Aung San Suu Kyi"
' We cannot understand this decision (of the Foreign Ministry)' was the
reaction of the
The German Foreign Ministry has vetoed a contract that German Telecoms giant
Telekom was about to sign with the exiled Burmese radio station backed by
leader Aung San Suu Kyi, Deutsche Welle's English Service reported on Tuesday,
October. A Foreign Ministry spokesperson told Deutsche Welle the contract with
based Democratic Voice of Burma radio was blocked because 'no foreign opposition
ever been granted permissions to use a German state-owned company to broadcast
programmes which go against a government in its own country.'
Deutsche Telekom is state-owned, although partial privatisation is underway.
contract, estimated tobe worth US$ 100,000 a year. Deutsche Telekom would have
relay facilities on one of its international transmitters for the radio
station's one-hour daily
broadcasts. But when the deal was about to be signed in early August, the
intervened. Mr. Harn Yawnghwe, a senior advisor to the Burmese
was involved in the negotiations told Deutsche Welle: 'Deutsche Telekom had
capacity and they believed they could help us to increase our broadcasting time
We got to the stage of drafting a contract. But then they said, ' we are very
sorry, the Foreign
Ministry vedoed the contract.'
Deutsche Welle has obtained a letter sent by Deutsche Telekom to the Democratic
Burma. The letter, dated 6th. August, confirms the veto, and says:' We cannot
decision (of the Foreign Ministry) and we deplore that there seem to be some
the contract).' Sources said the vedo may be the first ever such Foreign
The Democratic Voice of Burma broadcasts in Burmese and other ethnic languages,
to provide information banned by the country's military rulers. After reception
broadcasts sent from Norway, the station contacted Deutsche Telekom in order to
service. The station is the official voice of the Burmese government-in-exile,
which is based on
the Thai-Burmese border.
Nobel Peace Prize winner and official head of the government-in-exile Aung San
Suu Kyi has
publicly supported the service. The Foreign Ministry spokesperson said the
decision on the radio
'is separate from our concern for human rights in Burma, and we support recent
demands for the release from prison od pro-democracy activists there.' The
does not recognise the Burmese government-in-exile, he said. The Democratic
Voice of Burma
is currently transmitted by the Norwegian state-owned broadcasting company NRK.
has a license from the Norwegian government.
Cologne, 22nd. October 1996
144/96 End of the press release
Dear friends of Democratic Burma,
You are invited to express your free opinions on this matter, in which the
German Foreign Ministry
has unfortunately failed to respect and encourage the fundamental right of
freedom of expressions
(Article 19). In my next immediate message, I am going to report the reactions
on German Foreign
Ministry's veto by different leading German politicians.
Solidarity with the DVB,
Nwe Aung / Burma Bureau, Germany.