Myanmar journalist arrested and blocked from leaving country
The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) condemns the latest move by authorities in Myanmar, following the detainment of a journalist at Yangon International Airport on Sunday, July 30, 2017. The IFJ calls on the Myanmar government to take immediate action to repeal the country’s Telecommunications Law.
On Sunday evening, Swe Min, one of Myanmar’s best known journalists and editor of Myanmar Now, was detained at Yangon Airport as he tried to board to a flight to Thailand. Min was detained and held in Mandalay overnight, and released on Monday while he awaits his trial of defamation charges, which starts on August 7.
Swe Min was charged in March this year, under Article 66(d) of Myanmar’s Telecommunications Law. The charges related to a Facebook post by Min which was critical of Buddhist monk Wirathu.
Since January 2017, at least seven journalists in Myanmar have been charged with defamation under the Telecommunications Law. According to CPJ, on July 13, the Ministry of Transport and Communications submitted a draft bill to Myanmar’s Upper House of Parliament with recommendations to amend the Telecommunications Law. Yet CPJ said that they failed to protect press freedom and the media.
The IFJ said: “The situation in Myanmar has taken a worrying turn in the past 12 months, raising serious concerns about the future of press freedom in the country. The charges against Swe Min must be dropped immediately. For Myanmar’s democracy to flourish, press freedom must be maintained and strengthened, with the full support of the government and society.”
For further information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific on +61 2 9333 0946
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