[Myanmar] Press Freedom in More Peril Than Ever

“Media freedom is clearly not one of (its) priorities,” said the Paris-based Reporters Without Borders (RSF), which monitors freedom of information and press freedom across the globe. This is even though Daw Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD), the current ruling party, had press freedom among its targets for reform in its election manifesto.

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[Myanmar] Broken Promises Put the Press in Peril

It has just a little more than a year before its five-year term ends, but Myanmar’s ruling National League of Democracy (NLD) still has a lot of promises left unfulfilled. Among these are reforming the country’s media and ensuring freedom of the press and freedom of expression — but no one now believes NLD will ever make good on those.

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© Ann Wang / courtesy of Reuters

WPFD2019: UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize honors Reuters journalists

Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo (Myanmar), who are serving a seven-year prison sentence, share this year’s United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize. The award ceremony will take place today, 2 May 2019, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, host of this year’s celebration of the World Press Freedom Day.

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[Myanmar] Supreme Court ruling on Reuters reporters a grave injustice —SEAPA

The Southeast Asian Press Alliance (SEAPA) condemns in the strongest possible terms the decision of the Myanmar Supreme Court to uphold the seven-year imprisonment of Reuters journalists Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo. This ruling effectively puts the final nail in the coffin of their quest for justice.

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[Myanmar] Supreme Court set to rule on an appeal by jailed Reuters journalists

The Myanmar Supreme Court must order the release of Reuters journalists Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo, global civil society alliance CIVICUS and the Asia Democracy Network (ADN) said today. The two journalists, who have been jailed since 2017, are set to go before the country’s highest court on 23 April. The court will rule upon their appeal, which was submitted on grounds that lower court rulings involved errors in judicial procedure.

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[Myanmar] 20 expert organizations urge the gov’t to fully guarantee the internationally protected right to freedom of expression in the Constitution

A new parliamentary committee tasked with reviewing Myanmar’s constitution is an opportunity for the government to guarantee the democratic rights to free expression, media freedom, and access to information.

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Swe Win. Source: Karen News

[Myanmar] Drop defamation charges against journalist Ko Swe Win and repeal Article 66(d) of the Telecommunications Law

Myanmar authorities must drop the case against Ko Swe Win and take concrete steps to repeal Article 66(d) of the Telecommunications Law, 77 organisations said in a joint statement today.

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[Myanmar] Violence against Kachin-based journalists deplorable; police must punish the perpetrators —SEAPA

The Southeast Asian Press Alliance (SEAPA) echoes the calls of Myanmar Journalist Network (MJN) and Myanmar Press Council to investigate a mining company based in Waingmaw, Kachin that allegedly detained and assaulted local journalists over the latter’s reports on the environmental and social impact of the firm’s banana plantation operations. 

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Statement of the Myanmar Press Council on the incident

[Myanmar] Journalist community condemns attack against Myitkyina Journal reporters, calls to hold perpetrators accountable

On 26 February, two journalists from Myitkyina Journal – based on Myitkyina Kachin State – were forcibly taken by the personnel of the Tha Khin Sit company at its premises. Then, a female journalist was slapped and her male colleague was forced to do sit-ups several times; they also threatened both journalists not to write anything about the mining company. 

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[Myanmar] Media community condemns verdict against Tanintharyi Journal over a satirical article

On 18 February 2019, a district court from Dawei Township, Tanintharyi division announced its verdict on Thanitharyi Journal. The court decision states that the local paper has violated Article 25 (b) of the 2014 Media Law by publishing a satirical story, therefore, was sentenced to six-month imprisonment or fined 500,000 kyats (about USD 450). We, the media community in Myanmar, condemn this verdict as it restricts media freedom and the rights of media outlets. 

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Protesters against sand mining on the Ayeyarwady River in Shwedaung Township, Bago Region on Jan. 16, 2019. Photo: Thuya Zaw

[Myanmar] Ayeyarwady river at risk from rampant sand mining

Since 2010, a construction boom in Myanmar has fueled a sharp increase in the extraction of sand from the Ayeyarwady that is then used in cement and asphalt. Environmental groups say this dredging is destabilizing the river and placing stress on the Ayeyarwady Delta, the country’s main rice producing region. Experts warn that the rate of sand mining in the Ayeyarwady has already reached an unsustainable level and is projected to increase as development continues.

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[Myanmar] Facebook ramps up ban on hate mongers’ accounts

Social media giant Facebook has banned four more groups, which it described as “dangerous organizations” based on their verified use of the platform to incite violence and attacks on civilians in Myanmar. 

The Arakan Army, Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army, Kachin Independence Army, and Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA) were taken down Tuesday, 5 February 2019, and prevented from using Facebook’s services to “fuel tension on the ground.” 

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[Myanmar] Dismal state of free expression today’s reality under NLD-led gov’t

In its latest report on free speech, “Dashed Hopes: The Criminalization of Peaceful Expression in Myanmar,” the Human Rights Watch (HRW) outlined the current civic space for journalists and civil society in the country. While laws that criminalize free speech and defamation were enacted by previous administrations in Myanmar, the NLD government whose de facto leader is Aung San Suu Kyi, once known as the country’s icon of democracy, has made no progress in repealing or amending these laws, said the report released on 31 January 2019.

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01-09-18 - PHOTO:- Steve Tickner A right to information in support of free media and calling for the release of Reuters journalists, Wa Lone and Kyaw soe Oo was held in Yangon today

[Myanmar] In Facebook’s reverse reality, journalists are called traitors

Social media posts about the jailed Reuters journalists shows that many users believe they betrayed the country because they reported unpalatable facts.

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