Amnesty International Launches Radio Campaign for Burma

Amnesty International (AI) has launched an online campaign to collect enough money from donors to buy 4,000 radios to be distributed in Burma next month, according to a press release.
“Burma is preparing for its first elections in two decades,” the statement read. “By heavily censoring the media, the ruling military junta attempts to isolate the population from independent opinions. But you can help us beat the blackout.”
AI called on its readers and members to donate £12.50 (US $18.50), which the London-based rights group said is the cost of one radio.

Calling the campaign “Break the Silence,” AI said it hopes to collect enough donations to buy 4,000 radios, 60 walkie-talkie kits and six satellite kits.
“About 12 people will use each radio, so if we reach our target, 50,000 more people inside Burma will have access to independent news broadcasts,” the statement read.
In an e-mail sent to its members the same day, AI said, “Organisations like the Democratic Voice of Burma, an independent radio station based in Oslo and staffed by exiled Burmese dissidents, broadcast directly into Burma. Radios are not banned and they are one of the most effective ways to reach the Burmese people.
“But many of Burma’s 50 million people live in remote areas and don’t currently have access to a radio. We want to change that—and we need you to help us do it. Buy a radio now,” it said.
Kate Allen, the director of AI in the UK, was quoted as saying, “We have spoken to many Burmese groups and they have all said the same thing: independent information is vital, and radios are the key.”
AI is working with local organizations on the ground to distribute the radios, calling them “a powerful tool in bringing about social change.”
The Burmese junta tightly controls all media in the country, including printing, Internet, radio and TV, and is notorious for its draconian censorship and state propaganda.
A Mon reporter who was involved in the radio campaign in Mon State, said, “Radio is an easy campaign to promote. You don’t have to tell people twice because everyone needs one.”

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