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Down But Not Out: Burmese Citizen Journalism

Posted by Jacqueline on October 6, 2007

The brave citizen journalists, photographers, bloggers, and videographers on the ground in Burma may be partially silenced by the military junta government’s stringent censorship, but they are not totally quiet.  Instead, they’ve been forced to utilize more complicated methods to get the word out, like smuggling images in cell phones and breaking down files in order to send out them out undetected.

According to David Mathieson, an expert from the Human Rights Watch (quoted in this New York Times article):

“It is not clear how much longer the generals can hold back the future. Technology is making it harder for dictators and juntas to draw a curtain of secrecy.

“There are always ways people find of getting information out, and authorities always have to struggle with them,” said Mitchell Stephens, a professor of journalism at New York University and the author of “A History of News.”

“There are fewer and fewer events that we don’t have film images of: the world is filled with Zapruders,” he said, referring to Abraham Zapruder, the onlooker who recorded the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in 1963.

Before Friday’s blackout, Myanmar’s hit-and-run journalists were staging a virtuoso demonstration of the power of the Internet to outmaneuver a repressive government. A guerrilla army of citizen reporters was smuggling out pictures even as events were unfolding, and the world was watching.”

Hopefully, the continued efforts of the citizen journalists and reporters in Burma will manage to keep the world’s eyes on their corrupt government – and that other nations will draw positive lessons from this situation. 

Do you have ideas for citizen journalists in places where the technological reach is small and freedom of the press is but a pipe dream?  Any projects that could help them achieve their goals?  Enter the Knight News Challenge and you could win a grant and make your innovations a reality.

Bonus links:

The Human Rights Watch’s Burma section – here’s a lot more information on the current government and the country’s recent history.

The NY Times’ The Lede Blog’s latest post on Burma – be sure to check out the comments and the reactions from Burmese peoples and other reporters who have been there in the past few months.

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4 Responses to “Down But Not Out: Burmese Citizen Journalism”

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  2. […] icce68 wrote an interesting post today onHere’s a quick excerpt […]

  3. […] wrote an interesting post today onHere’s a quick excerptThe brave citizen journalists, photographers, bloggers, and videographers on the ground in Burma may be partially silenced by the military junta government’s stringent censorship, but they are not totally quiet. … […]

  4. […] Down But Not Out: Burmese Citizen Journalism The brave citizen journalists, photographers, bloggers, and videographers on the ground in Burma may be partially silenced by the military junta government s stringent censorship… journalists and reporters in Burma will manage to keep the world s eyes on their corrupt government… Rights Watch s Burma section  – here s a lot more information on the current government and the country s recent history. The NY Times The Lede Blog s latest post on Burma – be sure to check out Posted in Burma | Trackback | del.icio.us | Top Of Page Hundreds march on Burmese,Chinese, Indian Embassies for Burma On Oct 6, several hundred people marched from the Embassy of Burma to the embassies of first China and then India. These two nations are the biggest trading partners of Burma’s military regime. As a result,protesters are now calling for … Saturday Global Protests On Saturday, global protests, organized by Amnesty International, against Myanmar’s junta began around the world in Asia, Europe, Australia and the USA. Other rallies were also being held in New Zealand, Switzerland, and Canada after … burma-bessa043 London March and Rally to highlight the plight of Burmese civilians and increase pressure on the military Junta. Burma Junta Offers Tokens The military junta in Burma is offering concessions to the opposition in an attempt to cool international disgust over the crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrators. And oddly, even the AFP appears to be recognizing that the United … Move over, blood diamonds By CARMEL CRIMMINS Reuters BANGKOK – The gem merchants of Bangkok display their glistening wares proudly; diamonds from Africa, sapphires from Sri Lanka and rubies, of course, from Myanmar. The red stones from the country formerly known as Burma are… My Burma Meme Spreads to 17000 Web Pages in just one week! I’ve been tracking the progress of my Burma protest meme. In just under one week it has spread to almost 17000 web pages and it continues to grow. (For the latest number, click here). It’s great to see the blogosphere pick this up, … Brutal dictators of Burma & Bleeding Buddhist Monks! is just an amazing site to watch and it is a beautiful example how the Buddhists are respected and revered in Burma and all over the world, these peace loving Buddhists need the world support. The world is watching all the atrocities of … Brutal dictators of Burma & Bleeding Buddhist Monks! is just an amazing site to watch and it is a beautiful example how the Buddhists are respected and revered in Burma and all over the world, these peace loving Buddhists need the world support. The world is watching all the atrocities of … Silence in Burma Silence can be the most frightening sound of all. That’s what we’ve been hearing out of Burma this week, as the junta has cut communication with the outside world and rounds up monks and other protestors. Channel: News Tags: burma news … World-wide protests over Burma Thousands of demonstrators in cities across Europe and Asia joined in protests against the military junta in Burma after the regime acknowledged detaining hundreds of Buddhist monks who had led huge protests. … Jim Carrey calls for UN embargo against Burma At a news conference near UN headquarters in New York City, Carrey blamed the international community for allowing the brutal crackdown on Burma’s pro-democracy demonstrators… India and China have propped up the military regime in Burma and … Now, Bush and US is pushing for democracy in Burma. Why? Only reason that occurs to me is that at present situation, the US cannot get into Burma and get hold of its oil reserves. So a (dummy) democracy could very well serve the US’ … Taiwan Protest against Bloody Crack-down in Burma _ reported by Moe Chan. Pro-democracy activists in Taiwan protested against military regime’s bloody crack down in Burma on peaceful democracy demonstratons last week. Share This. Secret cremations hide Burma killings Link at the end of the article to the Mizzini News website specialising in Burma-Related News. Free Burma – Bloggers 7 day strike in support of the Burmese … Hence, a 7 Day Strike Action for a Free Burma by all Bloggers would go a long way in catching the attention of the media and generate a life of its own in various forms after the period. Thus, I call for a 7 Day Bloggers Strike for … October 4, 2007: Free Burma story: Free Burma http://www.rocketboom.com/vlog/rb_07_oct_04a/hd. Jim Carrey speaks for Burma at the United Nations I’d like to speak to you today, about the terrible situation that has developed in Burma. Now if you’re wondering why I call it Burma, instead of Myanmar, it’s the same reason people in the Second World War didn’t call Poland, … Hollywood Supports Burma The Irrawaddy Oct 6 2007 8:07AM GMT… The World Must Speak On Burma There were small protests around the world today to call attention to the massacres and human rights atrocities in Burma that followed a government crackdown on pro-democracy reformers, including Buddhist monks. … Actor Jim Carrey Speaks to the United Nations on Burma Jim Carrey spoke to the United Nations Security Council yesterday urging them to stop all international arms shipments to Burma. He asked them to put pressure on the Burmese junta, the military rulers of the country now known as Myanmar … FreeBurma.org: Links to the best info on Burma, democracy movement … BurmaNet News, information, culture. Free Burma Coalition struggling for Human Rights in Myanmar(Burma). Flying Tigers: Claire Chennault and His American Volunteers, 1941-1942 Amazon Price: $10.85 The American Volunteer Group (AVG), aka The Flying Tigers, are legendary. What young boy growing up in the 1940s and 50s has not been enthralled with John Wayne and the movie, Flying Tigers ? Great stuff. Most Americans believe the AVG was fighting the Japanese months, if not years, before Pearl Harbor. The truth is a little more prosaic. They flew their first combat mission 3 days after Pearl Harbor and made their first claim only on Dec 20th, 1941. Daniel Ford originally published this book in the early 1990s. He did this with official records of the group from US archival sources as well as Japanese historians who worked for years on official Japanese records and first person AVG and Japanese stories to flesh out these records. Ford was attacked, endlessly, by “keepers of the legend” as well as former AVG members still alive. The reason is he lent a truth and perspective. The AVG is officially credited with over 290 Japanese aircraft shot down over Burma, Thailand, Vietnam, and China. Official Japanese records credit them with about that amount. Over the years, the stories and accomplishments grew. The AVG claimed they could only be credited with half the amount they actually shot down because so many were behind Japanese lines. So they claimed at least 600, then it has grown to close to 1,000. The AVG people claim that official Japanese records are lies, perpetuated to this day. It is a shame this goes on. Their record, even with less kills, is one to be proud of. The AVG fought courageously with an aircraft inferior in some ways to Japanese machines, in appalling living conditions with an ally, Chang-Kai-shek, who did not really care about the war, per se, but only holding his power and position against the Chinese communists in the show-down to come. The AVG’s record deserves to be a legend, but not quite the John Wayne type. Ford laid all this out in his first edition in a very readable of historical book. This second edition corrects some errors, adds information and comments on his on-going controversy with the keepers of the AVG legend. If this interests you at all, buy this book, admire their accomplishments and admire Dan Ford for his ground-breaking work. Myanmar Tourism Promotion Board Contains country information, accommodations, tour operators, travelers tips, and more. The Myanmar Tourism Board also offers airline flight schedules, trade show information, and FAQs about the country formerly known as Burma. In English, Chinese, French, German, and Japanese. Mission of Burma Burma Daily Links to news articles, current affairs, and information on Myanmar (Burma). Burma (06/07) Facts about the land, people, history, government, political conditions, economy, foreign relations of Burma. Myanmar Travel Information | Lonely Planet Destination Guide Travel guide to Myanmar (Burma). Features information on Burmese events, attractions, activities, and transportation for the independent traveler. CIA – The World Factbook — Burma Facts, maps, and figures about Myanmar, formerly Burma. Find out about the geography, people, government, economy, military, transnational issues in Myanmar, and more. Letters from Burma Amazon Price: $10.88 Aung San Suu Kyi’s letters are a window into Burmese culture, politics and problems the people of Burma are facing today. It is an excellent read, well written and very well worded. As you read this book, you begin to form a mental image of her as a person. Her gentle nature and positive, uplifting attitude show through. It is easy to see why the people of Burma risk their own personal freedom and safety to support Aung San Suu Kyi politically and her party. Human Rights Watch: Asia : Burma […]

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