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Burma bans first sex education magazine

"Hnyo" was pulled from the shelves after just one issue

With its photos of scantily clad women and advice on bedroom secrets, Burma’s first sex education magazine has proven a step too far for the country’s censors who have banned it from publication.

“Hnyo” was pulled after just one issue because it was deemed to have ventured beyond its remit as a “fashion” magazine, its editor Ko Oo Swe told AFP on Thursday.

It is the first publication to have its licence revoked since the end of decades of military rule in early 2011.

Hnyo — which translates as “enchant” or “hypnotise” — was among the more risque publications to emerge after the abolition in August of pre-publication censorship that was a hallmark of life under the former junta.

Information minister Aung Kyi said Hnyo had gone too far by publishing “near pornography”, according to the New Light of Myanmar, an official English-language daily.

A further six publications — Media One, The Farmer, Ad World, Myanandar, High Speed Car, New Blood and Aesthetics — were warned that some of their content was “irrelevant” and would be monitored for one month, the report said.

Burma’s media have begun to blossom under a new quasi-civilian government, feeding huge demand from a population hungry for information after years of restrictions.

Private newspapers will be allowed to publish daily from 1 April, further easing a censorship regime that until last year required everything from fairytales to song lyrics to be submitted in advance for scrutiny.

Ko Oo Swe plans to appeal the censor’s decision. He hopes to boost his magazine’s social content with a greater focus on issues such as HIV prevention, prostitution and tackling violence against women.

“I am now trying to apply for a new licence as a health magazine,” he said.