Reporters on the Job
• Living With Repression: To research today's story about Burmese prisoners, correspondent Anand Gopal went to Mae Sot, a Thai town near the Burmese border. But in many ways, he felt like he'd never left Burma (Myanmar).
Even though hundreds of nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) operate in the town, many are hidden from the view of authorities since the Thai government frowns on them. Often, the Thai government holds raids and deports Burmese working for NGOs. "As a visiting journalist, I had to be vetted before visiting any of these NGOs. In some cases this means being introduced to the agency through a trusted contact, although in other cases I was sized up on the spot," he says.
A trusted contact led Anand to the secret museum dedicated to Burmese prisons. "I had to convince the curators that I would not divulge the location of the museum in my story," he says. "I had come to Mae Sot expecting the environment to be very different from the secretive atmosphere that exists in Burma. But it seemed to me that even after fleeing Burma many Burmese feel that they have not escaped repression."
– David Clark Scott