Published on Tuesday, 23 July 2013 11:26
National League for Democracy Member of Parliament, Aung San Suu Kyi, attends the 68th Armed Forces Day in the capitol, Naypyidaw, for the first time. Irrawaddy News/J Paing
Images by Myanmar photographers on show in Bangkok reveal the country's rocky road to democracy
An exhibition of news and feature photos - which capture some of the excitement and drama that has accompanied major political reforms in Myanmar over the past year and a half - is now showing at the Foreign Correspondents Club in Bangkok.
Several dozen pictures taken by 15 "emerging photographers" are on display at the club until the end of the month.
The exhibition features pictures of "The Lady" - Aung San Suu Kyi, busy as opposition leader since she became a member of Parliament in April last year. There are also other icons in the fight for democracy, such as long-term political prisoner Min Ko Naing, monks and others at the centre of social, political and environmental dramas in the neighbouring land.
This includes protests at a controversial copper mine - now run by a Chinese government agency- in the central north, where monks and other protesters were set upon by Myanmar government officials, an incident that caused many injuries and generated headlines around the world.
Other scenes reveal the ethnic tension that has erupted in areas such as Rakhine State - incidents which many suspect have been instigated by hard-liners within the military or administration opposed to any loss of control as the country moves toward a more democratic form of governance.
The show is among moves to boost the news media in Myanmar, which has enjoyed greater freedom under the "civilian" government led by President Thein Sein.
The FCCT in Thailand is keen to support its journalistic colleagues in Myanmar, who were delighted at having their "shackles loosened" with the scrapping last August of pre-publication censorship by the hated Press Scrutiny Board.
Licences have been issued for daily newspapers - for years there were only state-run publications - and a host of new publications has emerged.
Journalists from several associations visited Bangkok last month and spoke at the FCCT about the new landscape in which they work, which is still evolving. They voiced concern about restrictions under a new media law, passed recently by the Lower House of Parliament in Nay Pyi Taw, and admitted that a lot of self-censorship still goes on.
Indeed, some - like the veteran known simply as "Jimmy" - said they were still followed by military-intelligence officers. And while the road ahead remains filled with doubt, the light at the end of the tunnel is notably brighter now - as their pictures suggest.
The Open Society Foundation supported this exhibition and the Press Club of Myanmar's visit to Bangkok.
The exhibition continues through July 31 at Foreign Correspondents Club of Thailand on the 17th floor of the Maneeya Building on Ploenchit Road, next to the Chidlom Skytrain station.
Find out more at www.FCCThai.com.
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