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Sydney Morning Herald
18 December 2003
SDP: Another feather in the cap for media control in Asia’s media-hub
Music television channel MTV has launched a campaign for the release of Burma’s detained pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi, but viewers in Asia aren’t likely to see it.
MTV hopes the publicity blitz will raise the profile of Suu Kyi’s struggle against Burma’s ruling military junta to the level of Nelson Mandela’s 1980s battle against apartheid, MTV Networks Europe said in a statement.
“MTV is all about providing a platform for the voice of young people, and we vehemently support everyone’s right to freedom of expression, no matter who they are or where they live,” MTV Europe president Brent Hansen said.
But MTV’s Singapore-based Asian network won’t be taking part, even though Burma is an Asian country.
There are no immediate plans to run the campaign on the network’s eight Asian channels, MTV Asia said late on Tuesday.
The campaign uses an ad produced in Europe, and intended for all of MTV’s 42 channels worldwide, the statement from the channel’s European headquarters said.
MTV Asia said it would review the ad next year, along with other European content, and consider it for future use.
Burma’s junta has been widely criticised in the West for its human rights abuses.
The MTV ad shows a teenage girl in a bright bedroom surrounded by posters, clothes and her stereo. The room suddenly darkens, the posters curl away and the carpet fades into a stone floor.
The words “How would you feel if your home was a prison?” then appear on-screen, followed by “Aung San Suu Kyi is under house arrest” and a photo of the 1991 Nobel Peace Prize winner.
The ad gives a website address where viewers can send a message asking the United Nations to help free Suu Kyi.
Burma’s current military regime took power in 1988 after crushing a pro-democracy uprising.
It held elections in 1990, but refused to honour the results after Suu Kyi’s party won.