Thursday, 14 April 2011
An exiled video journalist from Burma gave University of Worcester students a disturbing insight into undercover reporting from a military regime.
The journalist, known by his first name, Joshua, to protect his identity, made a surprise visit to the showing of a cutting edge documentary about the work of the reporting team he founded.
The film, Burma Video Journalists, shown at Worcester’s Odeon, documents how in 2007 secret video footage was recorded of barbaric clampdowns by the Generals in charge of the country.
The atrocities, reported on the BBC and CNN, included images of monks and ordinary civilians being arrested, attacked and killed. Joshua told the students, studying Journalism, Politics and Media, that he was driven to capture events on film at the age of eight after 30,000 people had been massacred for protesting.
“I thought this will not happen again if I take my camera onto the streets and record it,” he said. But he said his team had “paid the price” as many were jailed for up to 65 years and he had his passport confiscated and can’t return to Burma.
Journalism student James Jeffrey said: “For me the film alone reinforced how important journalism can be and how it can change lives. I have been a part of an Amnesty International group at my sixth form college, but I have never met anyone involved with or related to the people I was writing to help. It was incredible to see how much this man had gone through, what he was doing for his country, friends and family and to have the chance to ask him questions in person.”
Using satellite the material was send out of the country, edited and then broadcast around the world and back onto Burmese TV screens via a pro democratic channel.
The free film viewing was organised by the Co-operative which is campaigning for the release of political prisoners, including the five people in the film.