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Blacklisted: CNN reporter deported from Myanmar – again

April 5th, 2010
04:35 PM ET

By Dan Rivers, CNN Corespondent

The military government has clearly been stung by some of my previous reporting from the country and I understood that I was on the notorious journalist "blacklist," which includes much of the Bangkok, Thailand-based press pack.

Perhaps before I explain what happened this time, I should explain my "past form" with the Junta.

When I first arrived in Bangkok in 2006, I was unknown to them. My first taste of the country many still call Burma, was in 2007 when our CNN team was officially invited to cover Armed Forces Day.

I was struck by the time-warp feeling that envelops you as you walk around the streets of Yangon, bereft of development as a result of Western sanctions, and, arguably the regime's own actions.

We covered the "set-piece" military parade in the new capital Naypyidaw, which felt more like the set of "The Truman Show." We also managed to film in a hospital in a small town outside of Yangon, and the scenes were pitiful and outrageous.

Myanmar spends less on health care than almost any other country on Earth, and it showed. After leaving, I understood that the authorities were incensed by my reporting at the hospital.

Later that year I was unable to report first hand on the pro-democracy rallies, dubbed the Saffron Revolution after the orange gowns of the monks who led the unrest. I was on air constantly from Bangkok, commentating on incredible footage emerging from citizen journalists among the crowds on the streets of Yangon.  It would have no doubt further irritated the Junta.

But it was while covering the aftermath of Cyclone Nargis in 2008, that I probably invoked the rage of the generals. CNN was one of the few western TV networks inside the country, and the only one to go live from the Irrawady Delta.

I felt strongly about the appalling scenes I was seeing and the obstruction of the Junta, which was blocking aid from getting to storm-ravaged areas. CNN decided to raise the profile of our coverage by allowing me to report on camera from inside the worst-affected areas.


Filed under:  Myanmar