Monday, October 29, 2007

Are Thai agents helping Burma junta to oppress Burmese people?!

The Irrawaddy has a disturbing story. Apparently Thailand is censoring and oppressing Burmese news groups and dissidents at the request of Myanmar:
A Burmese exile media organization in Bangkok has dropped its Web site news service “temporarily,” amid reports of a crackdown on such operations on Thai territory that carry material critical of Burma’s junta.

The reports surfaced last week and caused other exile media groups in Bangkok, Chiang Mai and Mae Sot to lower their profile. There were warnings of possible raids by Thai police and immigration authorities.

The Bangkok-based media organization that dropped its Web site news said it had been asked by Thai authorities to close its office “temporarily” starting from last Friday. A spokesman for the organization asked The Irrawaddy not to identify it.

The unnamed organization and several other Web sites and publications run by Burmese exiles have played a key role in reporting on the brutal suppression of September’s demonstrations.

They have come in for constant attack by the Burmese junta, along with overseas-based targets such as the Burmese service of the BBC and the Norway-based Democratic Voice of Burma.

Zin Lin, spokesman of Burma’s democratic government in exile, the National Coalition Government of the Union of Burma, told The Irrawaddy that its office in Bangkok had been warned by Thai authorities to adopt a “low profile.”

. . . “The Burmese state-media blamed the exile groups in Thailand for recent mass protests,” said Zin Lin.

Myint Wai, of the Bangkok-based Thai Action Committee for Democracy in Burma, told The Irrawaddy on Monday that his group is also vigilant in view of the reports of a possible crackdown.

The TACDB’s operations are mainly focused on Burmese migrant workers, many of whom have no legal documents. . . .

Burmese officials are rumored to have asked Thai authorities to close some offices linked to the September demonstrations in Burma. In the past, the Burmese government has usually used a friendly channel to pressure Thai authorities close to Burma to harass exiled Burmese.
It's one thing for Thailand to basically say it's not going to do anything at this time on Burma (that's what the Thai Prime Minister has said), it's another thing entirely for Thailand to actively help the Burmese junta to silence Burmese citizens in exile. If there is truth to this story, the international community must hold Thailand accountable. It's a complete outrage.

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