Freedom of Expression: Interview with David Matheison - Part 2
Director: Namita A. Malhotra, Subasri Krishnan
Duration: 00:01:46; Aspect Ratio: 1.819:1; Hue: 52.194; Saturation: 0.156; Lightness: 0.315; Volume: 0.149; Cuts per Minute: 1.127; Words per Minute: 92.377
Summary: The situation regarding censorship in Burma or Myanmar, has become increasingly severe leading to the house arrest of their leader Aung San Suu Kyi (released finally in 2011). However several independent efforts have been underway including the publication of magazines, radio channels, video and television channels and use of internet as well. An important record of the situation in Burma and how video was used is the documentary film, Burma VJ (2007) which was made out of smuggled hand-held footage made in Burma.
David Matheison works on issues related to Burma, including censorship for Human Rights Watch. He lives and works in the border town Mae Sot located within Thailand. In this interview he speaks about the situation in Burma in 2009, the repression of speech and the ordinary ways (using proxy servers etc.) by which users were bypassing censorship mechanisms of the State.
A few streets away from the cafe where this interview was shot, was the actual border between Thailand and Myanmar. This border is marked by a rivulet flowing across and a bridge across the rivulet, where the officials in charge of immigration and police are stationed. There are however countless crossing-overs across the water, on inflated tires - a young boy usually steers the tire along with the flow of the river, either against or with its current, to safely deposit his 'passengers' across the water, and across the border.
David - The internet is for everyone, to express views, to find information, to disseminate...
David - The internet is for everyone who wants information, to express views, to post things, to find information. Most importantly, I think the dark side of internet is like TV which is interesting to a minority of people and that's fine.
David - It's a great medium but also gets clogged down by a lot of meaningless and pretty boring information but the strength of the internet is that so much is going on and you can find out almost everything.
David - It is becoming more prevalent around the world but the negative thing is it is not reaching billions of people around the world who could benefit from it.
David - And is very far from a lot of people who deserve to use the medium. I think the people who use internet forgot that those people are missing out.
Reporter - Thank You!
David - Your Welcome!
[ END OF INTERVIEW ]