Thursday, September 9, 2010

Students Barred From Having Cameras at Sittwe University

By Tun Tun
Sittwe: Students have been banned from holding cameras in Sittwe University compound by university authorities in order to prevent them from sending photos to exile media and democratic activist in exile, said a student.

"We have been unable to take cameras to Sittwe University at present. The authority has seized the cameras from students if they take them to the university. Many students have lost their cameras after bringing them to the university. The ban is intended to prevent students sending photos of the university to exiled media and activists," the student said.

The prohibition came about after some photos related to Sittwe University were published on a website and journal of exiled media during the student protest that took place in Sittwe last month.

"There is no public notice at Sittwe University that cameras are not allowed, but authorities have been seizing cameras whenever they see students with them. But authorities told us the cameras will be returned to students after the school term is complete," the student added.

At least ten cameras have been taken by university authorities.

Another student from Government Technical College said that the college authority also does not allow students to bring cameras to the GTC. If the authority sees a camera in a student's hand, they will seize it.

Despite the ban, students have still been holding cameras and MP3 devices secretly inside the GTC compound, he said.

Speaking to Narinjara over the phone, a senior student at Sittwe University said, "Many student protests have taken place in the last few years at Sittwe University and the Government Technical College. News of the protests were picked up by exiled media, and exiled radio shows also aired reports of the protests. Because of that, the authority is worried about the spread of news from the schools and has imposed many restrictions at the university and college."

Before the 1988 democracy uprising in Burma, there was a student protest at Sittwe University against the government. The democracy uprising broke out shortly after in Rangoon.

At the Government Technical College, a large demonstration took place last month to protest the increase of school bus fares. About 300 students participated and marched to the Rakhine State Administration Office.


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