MARK COLVIN: The Burmese government has announced the abolition of media censorship. The former military junta applied heavy censorship to newspapers, magazines and even song lyrics. But as part of the country's democratic reforms the press scrutiny board will be no more. The changes take effect from today.
Southeast Asia correspondent Zoe Daniel joins me from Bangkok. Did you expect this?
ZOE DANIEL: Mark, I'm not all that surprised, in the sense that this has been happening incrementally since late last year when the reform process really kicked in Burma. I think the less controversial print publications have been less heavily censored since then, and in fact a number of journalist friends and editors have told me that they virtually weren't getting censored at all at the start of the year, this year.
What's significant about today, though, is that the last two key groups of publications, the political publications and the religious publications will also no longer be scrutinised by the press scrutiny board before they go to print, and that is significant.
MARK COLVIN: There are papers there, both Burmese language and English language papers, do you think there will be an explosion of papers now, will there be a lot more?
ZOE DANIEL: Yes, I think there will be. There are a lot of publications already in Burma, and particularly in the main cities, obviously, and some of those are weeklies, some of those are dailies. I think there is an expectation that there'll be some degree of a shake-up in the print media sector in Burma due to this new freedom, but also because of the economic changes that are going on in the country and that's going to make a difference to the way that the print media is viewed.
But, also the fact that people now have sudden access to the internet that they didn't have before and much better mobile communication, for example, so the same sorts of pressures that are facing print media in Western countries will face print media in Burma, to some degree, because of simple accessibility [read more].
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