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Daily papers transform Myanmar news stands

YANGON, Myanmar -- Privately owned daily newspapers hit Myanmar's streets Monday for the first time in decades under new freedoms that represent a revolution for a media industry which was shackled under military rule.

Four Burmese-language titles — The Voice, The Golden Fresh Land, The Union and The Standard Time — made the transition from weeklies as new rules came into effect that swept away state media's long monopoly on daily printing.

“We prepared for about six months to become a daily newspaper. We wanted to be part of this historical milestone,” Aung Soe, an editor of The Voice, told AFP.

Newsstands in Yangon reported an early morning rush by readers eager to witness the latest sweeping change in the country also known as Burma.

“The Voice daily sold out soon after it arrived even though I ordered double the amount than other newspapers. People are keen to read private daily newspapers for the first time,” said vendor Phyu Phyu.

Myanmar's public has become accustomed to an increasingly boisterous media since the country's quasi-civilian government relaxed its grip on the press after coming to power in 2011 and introduced other wide-ranging reforms.

Military rulers had seized control over private daily papers in 1964, according to veteran journalist Thiha Saw of Open News weekly.

Under junta rule, even an implied mention of the democracy movement and its figurehead Aung San Suu Kyi could have landed reporters in prison, but the Nobel laureate is now in parliament and regularly appears in the papers.

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A vendor sells newspapers to motorists during a traffic jam in Yangon, Myanmar on Monday, April 1. Privately operated daily newspapers hit newsstands in Myanmar on Monday for the first time in decades. (AP)



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