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Myanmar reforms press council after criticism

YANGON, Myanmar (AP) — Myanmar’s government has replaced a press watchdog agency criticized as repressive with a new more liberal council.

The action Monday came at the initiative of new Information Minister Aung Kyi, whose predecessor was more closely identified with the hardline policies of the former military government.

The new council reduces the powers that the earlier agency, established Aug. 8, had to vet foreign publications and initiate criminal and civil complaints against journalists. Aung Kyi took office at the end of August.

There has been an easing of restrictions on freedom of expression since last year, when the elected nominally civilian government of President Thein Sein began political and economic reforms after almost five decades of repressive military rule.

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