Burmese election ban on foreign journalists

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Foreign journalists will not be allowed into Burma to cover the country's first election in 20 years, officials said yesterday, issuing the latest restriction for an election widely criticised as a sham.

The Election Commission said there was no need to grant visas for foreign reporters because there are local reporters who work for foreign media.

The military junta has billed the election as a key step toward democracy. Critics say that oppressive rules governing campaigning and the repression of the opposition parties ensure that the army will continue its commanding influence after the polls.