Easter blessings from UCAN
There is no more important week in the year for Christians than this Holy Week. We call it Holy because of the mystery we celebrate - God's gift of His son who loves us to his death on Calvary and beyond.
Because of that love, we wish each other Happy Easter even when we know there is a lot of tragedy about it - Good Friday. As Christians, we know that what we see happening with and in Jesus goes to the heart of what we know from our own experience of life.
At the Second Vatican Council, the Christian lives we all lead were described as being shares in the Paschal Mystery. We have our share in the death and resurrection of Jesus every day. Our lives are part of the Paschal Mystery.
At UCAN, we work to describe that mystery in the unfolding tragedies and astonishing blessings of the people we seek out and report, feature and comment on.
While at times deeply distressing work, this effort of ours gets its coherence in the same way the death of Jesus did - because of the astonishing grace of a God who never gives up on life and love.
Because of that, we can wish you Happy Easter.
Fr. Michael Kelly SJ
Greater freedoms for long-shackled press
Censorship ends but problems remain for the Myanmar pressThe press is freer but challenges remain, say editors
- Min Set, Yangon
- October 15, 2012
Under military rule a censorship office in Yangon would go through every article line by line and cross out words and sentences deemed too critical or inappropriate in this predominantly Buddhist country.
Reforms have seen the government recently abolish the censorship board. Many editors in Yangon say that this not only makes the news media freer; it also reduces their workload. Newspapers previously spent hours every week ferrying copy over to the censorâs office and would have to redo page layouts when whole stories were cut, a common event.
But editors also say that things are still tough for the news media, mainly because a rising number of newspapers have been targeted by lawsuits.
The Ministry of Mines has sued weekly journal The Voice after it reported alleged corruption perpetrated by officials involved in a mining deal.
Kyaw Min Swe, the publicationâs editor and secretary of the new interim press council, said that freedom of expression has improved but there are still key problems to address as well as the one of lawsuits.
Journalists now have to take more responsibility, he said, as many in the past used the censorship board to deflect criticism over inaccurate reporting.
âThe media needs to refrain from threats, avoid illegal actions and must adopt the spirit of responsibility. It must prove that they deserve media freedom.â
The nominally civilian administration recently replaced former Information Minister Kyaw Hsan â who many analysts considered a hard-line remnant of the previous military regime â in favor of Aung Kyi, formerly the governmentâs go-between with opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi.
Aung Kyi said that the government has initiated a number of changes aside from the abolition of the censorship board.
Government officials were meeting more regularly with journalists, he said, and are directly involved in drafting a new media law which will soon be presented to parliament.
âMedia freedom should be implemented in every democratic country â they [news media] give a service to the public,â he added.
Htet Naing Zaw, editor of the news journalÂ Venus news, said Myanmar has made significant progress on media freedom but that the government remains too weak to sort out key problems including the rise in legal action against journalists.
He expressed concern that the new media law may not address these issues.
At the start of the year, before the censorship board was abolished,Â Reporters Without Borders ranked Myanmar a lowly 169th in the world out of 197 countries in terms of press freedom.
State abolishes press censorship
Myanmar workers wary of new press council