Burmese Magazine License Pulled for Sexual Content

A man reads a copy of Nhyot in Rangoon. (Photo: The Irrawaddy)

RANGOON — Burma’s new reformist government revoked the publishing license of a magazine for the first time on Wednesday, saying it violated regulations by publishing sexual material when it was supposed to cover fashion.

The Information Ministry announced on its website that the monthly magazine Nhyot deviated from its charter as a fashion magazine by publishing sexually arousing photos and articles.

The December issue of the magazine carried several pictures of scantily clad Burmese women in provocative poses and articles that the editor said constituted sex education. The content appears tame by the standards of similar publications in the West or in neighboring Thailand, but Burma’s society is notably more conservative.

Nhyot editor Ko Oo Swe told The Associated Press that whether the photos were sexually arousing depended on “the eyes of the beholder.”

He said other magazines have also published material that differs from their charter but have not been shut down.

“What I want to tell the government is to treat all publishers equally,” he said.

Burma abolished direct censorship of the media last year and announced last month that it will allow the first private daily newspapers in decades starting in April, in the latest steps toward allowing more freedom of expression in the long-repressed nation.

The government’s tolerance has been tested previously, with articles exposing alleged official corruption and sensationalistic coverage of ethnic strife that threatened to inflame passions. It instituted lawsuits alleging the corruption stories were false, and temporarily suspended publication of some magazines.

3 Responses to Burmese Magazine License Pulled for Sexual Content

  1. The people have to decide whether to read it or to put it aside, to buy it or to ignore it, the government has no business in telling us what to write and what not to write, the government has no position of interfering our freedom of press, freedom of speech and freedom of expression. The only option the government has it to regulate. “Adult only” section must be designated in the book stores. The current junta is just behaving like younger brother of the old ones. Now, freedom is half granted in Burma. Without having proper regulation, this magazine is punished unfairly.

  2. I differ with the above comment. Freedom of expression does not mean that you can go beyond any limit. Freedom of expression should be utilized to expose corruption, to report irregularities in Government departments, injustice at administrative levels without fear of reprisals or threat. It should not be utilized to expose bodies. Freedom of expression comes with responsibilities. We should just compare the current state of press freedom with that of say one year ago and took much satisfaction from that. Magazines like Playboy are not compatible with Burmese culture——-it should be very clear.

  3. Maybe the Government Ministry was wearing longyi and he became sexually aroused.

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