Burma VJ: Reporting from a Closed Country by Anders Ostergaard

Burma VJ is a documentary about the undercover citizen journalists with the Democratic Voice of Burma, an organization that takes extraordinary risks to smuggle video documentation out of Burma, where all media is banned. The video journalists with DVB provide news to about 20 million Burmese, by sending it through satellites from Norway and are responsible for providing documentation to the rest of the world on the atrocities that are occurring in Burma. The military regime in Burma does not allow anyone to video tape or take pictures of protests and have sentenced video journalists to sixty-five years in prison for filming demonstrations.

The documentary focuses predominantly on the protest calling for the release of Burmese pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi, a political prisoner under house arrest in Rangoon. Suu Kyi was elected Prime Minister in the 1990 general election as leader of the National League for Democracy party where she won 59% of the vote and 394 of 492 seats. However, Suu Kyi was prevented from assuming office by a military intervention and sentenced to house arrest. The United Nations have requested that the authorities in Burma set her free, but the authorities have so far ignored this request.



Sample of Burmese State Television Propaganda

The protests in Burma seem futile since there have been no immediate changes. Furthermore, the military regime is willing to kill people in order to end demonstrations and refer to the video documentation of unjustified violence as fabricated propaganda. To add to this, Burma’s actions are continually condemned by world leaders, however, the military regime never seems to face any consequences for their actions. One can only hope that the lives lost during these protests have not been in vain and that the work of the DVB will eventually provide proof that dialectics can break bricks.

– Clint Enns

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~ by cineflyer on September 14, 2009.

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