An editorial in Bangkok's The Nation calls on the Myanmar junta to exercise transparency in accounting for aid money. The junta prepares to host an international donors' conference to raise money for victims of the cyclone on Sunday in Rangoon. As we all know, journalists play a critical role in helping to ensure transparency. But the Bangkok paper reports that journalists will not be welcome at the conference in Rangoon.
So it's kinda like this: in Burma, the cats are holding a party. All fat mice are invited.
As the regime prepares for tomorrow's pledging conference, it is also obvious that foreign journalists based in Bangkok, who are not attached to any official delegation attending the conference, will not be granted visas. Several Bangkok-based foreign correspondents have been turned away.
By keeping the media from covering the conference and the cyclone's aftermath, the junta is trying to fool the world into believing that its version of what is going on inside the country is the only acceptable one. When Surin said he wanted to hold a press conference immediately after the meeting with Burmese leaders, authorities there said there was no precedent set for giving news this way. Even the UN's special envoy for Burma, Ibrahim Gambari, was not allowed to speak to the press. If this is what the Burmese junta plans to do in coming months and years, international donors must impress on the junta that this is not acceptable.
Photos: top MarthaStewart, bottom Mouse Party T-shirts