Myanmar to be hit with TV fees

Authorities order massive hike for satellite licenses

YANGON — Authorities in Myanmar have ordered a massive hike in the fee for satellite TV licenses, an official said Wednesday, in what residents said appeared to be an attempt to limit access to foreign media.

A Myanmar Post Office official, who could not be named, said renewing an existing license for a satellite dish now costs 1 million kyat ($800), a staggering rise on last year’s fee of $4.80.

“This annual fee started from this year, 2008. We don’t know the reason,” the official told Agence France-Presse, adding that people applying for a new license will have to fork out $1,600.Satellite television allows people in military-ruled Myanmar, where media is tightly controlled, to watch the BBC and the Norway-based Democratic Voice of Burma (DVB), and listen to Radio Free Asia (RFA) and Voice of America (VOA).

Outlets such as DVB were one of the key sources of pictures and news during mass protests in September last year, and the junta regularly denounces the BBC, VOA and RFA in state media as “liars attempting to destroy (the) nation.”

— Wire services