La nuova domanda del guru dovrebbe essere: moriranno prima la radio analogica, la giunta birmana o i birmani tout court?
Junta's information black-out
Jul 4, 2008 (DVB)–Burma’s military regime is still keeping quiet about an incident following Cyclone Nargis. It is a minor incident, but one that would surprise the people of Burma and the international community.
Relief supplies provided for Burma’s cyclone victims from China included 2000 radios. They were handed over to the junta authorities. Low-ranking officials were in a difficult situation when they received those cheap radios because they were not sure if they should give them to refugees or hold them back, so they asked their superiors what to do.
The information about the radios pushed high-ranking officials into a tight corner. They seemed to be worried about affecting the relationship with China if they did not give the radios out. On the other hand, if they distributed the radios, the 2000 people who received them would be able to listen to foreign broadcasting services such as BBC, VOA, DVB and RFA, which they did not want their citizens to be able to access. Finally, an order came through that radios should be distributed to cyclone victims only after they had been adapted so that they could not be used to listen to foreign broadcasting services.
As a consequence, engineers and officials at the Communication Department faced a heavy workload. They had to remove the short wave tuning system used by foreign broadcasting services to air their programmes from each radio. Engineers working for the Communication Department in Rangoon Division spent a lot of time on these radios worth US$ 5 each. After the radios had been adapted, the authorities gave them out in Irrawaddy division for people to listen to weather news, took photos of their donations and then sent the photos back to donors in China.
When village headmen and others received the radios, they were unable to tune into foreign radio broadcasts because the short wave system had been disabled. They were also unable to listen to City FM since they were far away from Rangoon. As a result, they all ended up only being able to listen to programmes from Myanmar Radio and Television Department, the state-controlled radio station transmitted on medium wave.
The way the military regime dealt with the donated radio shoes the lengths to which it will go to black out information and stop its citizens listening to news broadcasts.