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Date: Thu, 19 Nov 1998 16:04:49 -0500 (EST)
To: burmanet-l@xxxxxxxxxxx
cc: strider@xxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: Censorship on BurmaNet

Dear BurmaNet Editor,
                    Limiting  people's choices leads to failures. 
Why did limiting people's choices lead to failures?Because it divides
society into 2 categories :- The Powerful
and The Powerless. So why should Burmanet limit the free debates of the
Burmese activists and the Burma watchers? Censorship means telling people
what to see and what not to see. If this continues, freedom on BurmaNet
will become an obsolete word.

Myanmar listserver owned by SPDC is unmoderated and uncensored.If the
server owned and operated by SPDC, a notorious government that is known
for deterring freedom of information and freedom of expression, can allow
people to post anything that reflects their opinions, why can't Burmanet?
Who is there to protect?Things are turning upside down now. SPDC allows
people to post anything that reflects their opinions, why can't Burmanet?
Who is there to protect?Things are turning upside down now. SPDC allows
free and uncensored debates on their network. BurmaNet, a free Burma
Forum, doesn't.What's going on?Don't you think we should make some
reflections here?




To: "Kyaw K. Htut" <khtut@xxxxxxxx>, "Burmanet2-l" <burmanet2-l@xxxxxxxx>,
Subject: Re: Cowardice: Turning Deaf Ears and Blind Eyes to the Censorship
Date: Sun, 22 Nov 1998 01:57:18 -0000

This is a multi-part message in MIME format.

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Hello kyaw K Htut or whoever!
                                           Thanks you for your e-mail. I =
think this letter is very good English Writing but may not be good
attraction for the 8888 generation.Let me tell you something, no matter =
what you think, no matter what do, no matter what
you did, no matter what you' ve done, you came form Burma, anyway. One =
thing you forgot, in Burma "  basically", we went same school, I meant =
we're growing up under the socialism. Over here we all try to get the =
same school, basically.You try to do something good for people or =
yourself. Why you don' t ask yourself , first.You want to be a good =
organizer to found the Burma' s open net you should sent the advicing =
letter or similar letter.You try to be a intellectual, I'm honestly =
happy about it because we both come from same country.Anyway, if I know =
you, why you don' t remind me a litter about between us.I really don' t =
remember you.I' m sorry to say that I truely don' t.If you know better, =
let me learn something from anyone.
That is why I came here for. PAL, we have to learn a lot of things.I =
like your idea for open net. But I don' t like the name  of the Burma' s =
open net because Burma net is already on the internet. So, my suggestion =
is 8888's net.
So long PAL or Technician.         


To: strider@xxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: Re: BurmaNet censorship
Date: Wed, 18 Nov 1998 22:18:35 PST

The Gecko, Web Edition - 15 November 1998

The Peacock that choked on its own grit
BurmaNet censorship

"Freedom of speech is the essential vehicle for that exchange of ideas 
nations and cultures that is a condition for true understanding and 
lasting cooperation."
U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan


Up till recently, the BurmaNet has been respected by scores of activists 
for being the voice of the peacock (the symbol of
Burmese resistance). According to its editor it is "an open forum for 
subscribers to freely express their opinions, analyses,
and ideas to an audience of interested people". Thus the network has 
published a lot of opposition propaganda as well as
"information sheets" issued by the military government. For years there 
have been some pretty ripe accusations, mostly
aimed at Rangoon policies but also foul language attacks on people 
accused of being collaborators or spies for the regime.
Naturally, as the subscribers are basically Burmese expatriates with 
strong anti-government feelings, the debate has been
somewhat lopsided. Until recently that is, when suddenly some had the 
gall to give the people behind the BurmaNet itself
a good dressing down and the lid was clamped down tight. These were 
accusations which could not be brushed aside as
propaganda as they came from respected people within their own ranks so 
to speak; people who did not have to hide
behind pseudonyms.

In a media where free expression is practiced, you have to live with 
both the good and the bad. Most people agree that
obscene language and anonymous accusations belong elsewhere; but then 
you soon learn how to weed these out and
dispose of them at your own choice. In addition, you are completely free 
to challenge any accusations and most netters
will soon figure out what is true and what is false. Obviously these 
accusations were hitting too close to target and the
BurmaNet webmaster was ordered by his bosses (NCGUB, FTUB and the ABSDF 
etc) to dump anyone who dared criticize
them. An immediate censorship came into effect or as proclaimed by the 
Burmanet editor himself:
"As of today (Friday 23 Oct 1998) all messages sent to the list will be 
distributed only after approval by the BurmaNet
staff. After repeated requests to refrain from objectionable postings, 
we at BurmaNet have decided to start monitoring the
messages sent out over the list. We will continue to provide this 
listserver and welcome a wide range of postings". Many
activists worldwide regret the actions taken by Burmanet and hope for a 
quick change of policy. After all, not even the
Myanmar government applies censorship to it´s webpage mailbox. 

Regardless of what steps the BurmaNet takes from now on it is very 
unlikely that it will ever again regain its old credibility,
as the stamp of censorship will always loom in peoples´ minds. So, you 
may say that the glorious peacock has choked on
its own grit. But what does this mean to the opposition lobby as such? 
Naturally one of the main sponsors of the
BurmaNet - the Soros Foundation which proclaims to promote free speech 
in countries ruled by dictators - will think more
than once before adding further funds to this kind of operation. It also 
means that the refreshing Burma debate will split
into a number of smaller, less frequented but also less restricted 
networks. Worst of all, the accusations - true as well as
false - will now take place behind the accused´s backs instead of in an 
open forum where they can be met in the
appropriate way.


NCGUB - National Coalition Government of the Union of Burma
FTUB - Federal Trase Unions of Burma
ABSDF - All Burma Students´ Democratic Front 

Published by Burma Center, Sweden. For comments and queries: