BANGKOK, May 29, 2009 (AFP) - An international media rights group urged Myanmar's junta Thursday to lift restrictions on coverage of Aung San Suu Kyi's trial, saying the lack of transparency made a fair verdict unlikely.
Paris-based Reporters Without Borders (RSF) said the military government had been "inconsistent" in its dealings with the media over the trial of the Nobel laureate inside Yangon's notorious Insein prison.
Most of the trial has been behind closed doors, with authorities allowing a limited number of local reporters - including some working for international media - to cover proceedings on just two days since it opened on May 18.
"Burmese journalists are or are not allowed into the trial at the military's whim while foreign journalists are carefully kept away," RSF said, referring to the country by its former name, Burma.
"Even with this limited access, the Burmese public is not being properly informed as the military's prior censorship prevents any independent coverage.
The lack of transparency makes a fair verdict even more unlikely," it added.
RSF said several citizen journalists had been warned not to take photos or film of Aung San Suu Kyi's supporters outside the prison. A demonstrator was arrested Thursday outside the court, where many police officers are stationed.
Myanmar citizens must tune to international radio stations broadcasting in Burmese or the two satellite TV stations with Burmese language programming for free coverage of the trial, RSF said.
Aung San Suu Kyi, 63, faces up to five years behind bars on charges of breaching her house arrest, stemming from an incident in which an American man swam across a lake to enter her closely watched home.