YANGON, Burma (AP) — Burma’s new reformist government revoked the publishing license of a magazine for the first time 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 “Hnyo” 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 Burma 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.
“Hnyo” 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.