Reporters Without Borders is saddened to learn of the death overnight of the veteran Burmese journalist Ludu Sein Win in a Rangoon hospital. Formerly with the banned Ludu Newspaper, he had since worked for a variety of publications.
“We express our condolences to the family and friends of Ludu Sein Win. With his death we have lost not only a shining example of Burmese journalism, but also a courageous fighter for democracy and press freedom,” Reporters Without Borders said.
“Man of letters, committed intellectual and prolific journalist, Sein Win worked tirelessly for the betterment of his fellow citizens. Neither the 13 years he spent in prison nor the partial paralysis he suffered as a result of a heart attack prevented him from expressing his opinions or giving the benefit of his wisdom to readers and also to the many people who visited his home to listen to him and discuss the future of Burma with him.”
Sein Win, who suffered from lung cancer, was admitted to Rangoon’s private Shwegondaing Hospital early yesterday where he died just before midnight.
Born on August 13 in the central city of Mandalay, Sein Win was educated at Lafon Memorial High School and Mandalay and Rangoon universities. He began his journalism career in 1964 at Ludu Newspaper, which was banned by the military junta in 1967.
He was arrested and sentenced to 13 years’ imprisonment, which he served first on Coco Island in the south, before being moved to Insein Prison in Rangoon in 1971. He was released in 1976, then arrested again soon afterwards and jailed for a further four years.
He was freed in 1980 after suffering a heart attack, which left him partially paralysed for the rest of his life.
Besides writing on politics for several weekly and monthly publications, such as Weekly Eleven Journal to which he contributed from 2005, in his books he turned his attention to topics such as ethics, youth, journalism and love.
Frequently critical of the military government, in particular in interviews he gave to Burmese media outlets in exile, he used 15 different pen names and his work was frequently censored by the junta. In 2006, his name was removed from a list of the leading Burmese personalities of 2005 published by Weekly Eleven Journal.
In March 2008, his work was banned completely from all publications on the orders of the government censor board, after he made highly critical comments about the government and called for the overthrow of the dictatorship by a popular movement: “Believe in the Burmese people’s heroism. Believe in People Power. Defeat the Despot with People Power.”