Documentary Screening:
Burma VJ: Reporting from a Closed Country
with introduction and discussion by Professor Yin Hlaing Kyaw

Discussant: Dr. Yin Hlaing Kyaw, Assistant Professor
Department of Asian and International Studies, City University

Date :25 November 2009

Time :16:30 p.m. – 18:30 p.m.
Venue: MBG 19

About the film:

Going beyond the occasional news clip from Burma, the acclaimed filmmaker, Anders Østergaard, brings us close to the video journalists who deliver the footage. Though risking torture and life in jail, courageous young citizens of Burma live the essence of journalism as they insist on keeping up the flow of news from their closed country. Armed with small handycams the Burma VJs stop at nothing to make their reportages from the streets of Rangoon. Their material is smuggled out of the country and broadcast back into Burma via satellite and offered as free usage for international media. The whole world has witnessed single event clips made by the VJs, but for the very first time, their individual images have been carefully put together and at once, they tell a much bigger story. The film offers a unique insight into high-risk journalism and dissidence in a police state, while at the same time providing a thorough documentation of the historical and dramatic days of September 2007, when the Buddhist monks started marching.

Amidst marching monks, brutal police agents, and shooting military the reporters embark on their dangerous mission, working around the clock to keep the world informed of events inside the closed country. Their compulsive instinct to shoot what they witness, rather than any deliberate heroism, turns their lives into that of freedom fighters.

(excerpt from the film's official homepage)

About the discussant:

Dr. Yin Hlaing Kyaw is Assistant Professor at the Department of Asian and International Studies, City University, Hong Kong. Dr. Kyaw received his undergraduate degree in Mandalay, and did his graduate studies at Cornell University, where he received his PhD. He has published widely on political developments in Burma (Myanmar) and is currently researching on the state of the Burmese democracy movement, as well as the relationship between the State, the Business Community and Clientelism in Burma.

To learn more about the film, visit their official website:


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