Saturday, October 6, 2007

Burma: bad guys are winning, but so does citizen journalism



White House spokesman Scott Stanzel criticized Myanmar regime on Friday for cutting off Internet access saying "They don't want the world to see what is going on there". Yet, even though protests seem to have been successfully forced down by the Junta and number of dead and missing persons might be left unknown forever, pieces of information continue to flow nevertheless thanks to some brave people and proxy servers.

We know how Japanese photographer journalist Kenji Nagai was murdered because we watched this citizen journalism video posted to YouTube and broadcasted on Japanese television. We can see for ourselves how really far was this soldier when he shot Nagai who was holding his camera. We know bodies were dropped in front of monasteries as warning signs and that most, perhaps all, of these monasteries are now empty of their residents. We don't know where the monks are, how many are dead and how many are being tortured in the Junta's basements but we do know the Myanmar dictatorship now seeks four more alleged monk 'ringleaders' after 25 of the 29 monks suspected of being protest leaders are already in custody.

We know soldiers were singling out people with cameras. Watching this CNN video can help us imagine what they are expected to be dealing with when they are found. We know citizen journalism now changes the rules of the game, but we also know the high price some need to pay for it as fate of Moezack is still unknown and his blog has been totally wiped out by someone. Other popular bloggers such as kohtike, niknayman and soneseyar which continuously posted news and photographs of ongoing protests have also been shut down priorly to the "damaged underwater cable" eliminating Internet access completely in Burma.

It seems bad guys are winning at Burma, AKA Myanmar, but so does citizen journalism. The news are bad, but at least we know that.

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