Burmese Monk blogger in running to win "Best Asian Blog"
The Weblog of a veteran Burmese Buddhist monk, Ashin Mattacara, which contains writings on Burma, has been selected among the finalists for the 'Best Asian Bolg' Award for 2008.

The Weblog, (, has garnered 870 votes in an online poll conducted since November of last year, currently ranking it second among votes received by finalists.

Ashin Mattacara, age 27, went to Sri Lanka to study Buddhist religious studies and created his Weblog in 2004, focusing on religious writings. But the Weblog took a decisive turn in September 2007, when Buddhist monks led mass demonstrations in Burma, with the site increasingly filled with political writings on Burma.

"The September event made me angry, sorry and disappointed, so I decided to write and publish political issues on my blog," Ashin Mettacara told Mizzima, adding that his blog also contains other information on Burma.

In the wake of the public protests in September 2007, several Internet savvy Burmese youth, both inside Burma and around the world, created websites and blogs and filled them with information on the protests and the subsequent crackdown by the military.

Ashin Mettaraca's blog was among the outstanding blogs that provided much needed information on the protests to Burmese as well as to the international community.

"I wanted to tell the whole world about the situation of Burma. That is the main reason for creating this blog," Ashin Mettacara said.

Like Ashin Mettacara, several young Burmese bloggers played an important role in bringing out information on the September 2007 protests as well as the humanitarian crisis in the aftermath of deadly Cyclone Nargis in early May 2008.

For this reason, Burma's military rulers have hunted down bloggers and others involved in the dissemination of information and sentenced them to long prison terms. Popular comedian and film director Zargarnar was last year arrested and sentenced to 59 years of imprisonment for providing information and giving interviews to media groups.

Similarly, a young blogger, Nay Phone Latt, who is also a youth member of detained Nobel Peace Laureate Aung San Suu Nyi's National League for Democracy party, was also arrested and sentenced to more than 20 years of imprisonment for posting writings of Burmese youth on his Weblog.

Ashin Mettacara, who has completed his B.A and M.A studies in Sri Lanka's Buddhist and Pali University, said he would face a similar threat from Burma's military rulers if he should return to his homeland.

However, he said it does not intimidate him from doing what he always does – posting political writings and information on Burma - on his blog. He believes that that his work is serving people around world, and he is confident of winning the award.

On his blog, he has chosen to post a popular line that states, "Burma, Myanmar: Yes, We can win this Award".

The world's largest blog competition, Weblog Awards has 48 categories for this year and nearly two million votes have already been cast.

With the polls set to close on January 13, readers can post their votes at
You can vote every 24 hours

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