Junta Hinders Cyclone Coverage

Foreign journalists must hide to do their jobs
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted May 13, 2008 1:45 PM CDT
A Myanmar man walks his bicycle past fallen branches covering a Buddha statue on the outskirts of Yangon, Myanmar on Tuesday May 13,2008. (AP Photo)   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – Journalists trying to cover the cyclone’s devastation in Burma find themselves obstructed and under surveillance by the military junta, the AP reports. The majority of foreign journalists, like aid workers, have simply been denied entry. Those inside must disguise themselves as tourists, watch out for government phone taps, and switch hotels frequently, as police seek to root them out.

"This government is very paranoid, very xenophobic and they think this cyclone could undermine their credibility," said Aung Zaw, editor of a Thailand-based magazine written by exiled Burmese journalists. "The military regime wants to conceal the extent of the damage. And they don't want the Burmese people telling foreigners the true story."