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Min Ko Naing: Media not impartial

Min Ko Naing, pictured in 2011.

Renowned political activist Min Ko Naing has questioned the Burmese media’s neutrality in a speech at the Nobel-Myanmar Literary Festival.

Speaking at the National Theatre in Rangoon on Sunday, the 88 Generation Peace and Open Society leader said, “We have reached a time when the media is now criticising activists who are wholeheartedly working for democracy and peace, on a pretext of impartiality. They say that they are being fair and impartial by criticising both the government and opposition.

“But in my opinion, when viewing the government and the opposition, I see one side as violators of justice and the other as defenders. I find it dubious that the media are smearing both sides in the name of impartiality.”

The Nobel-Myanmar Literary is being hosted from 17 to 19 January at the National Theatre in Rangoon.

Min Ko Naing made his name as a student leader during the 1988 uprising. Arrested, detained and tortured by the military junta, he spent most of the next 16 years in prison. Upon his release, Min Ko Naing co-founded the 88 Generation Students Group and has continued to be regarded as one of the country’s highest regarded and most outspoken pro-democracy activists. In 2012, the New York Times described him as the second most influential person in the country, next to Aung San Suu Kyi.

Read more: How free is Burma’s press?