Myanmar: Legal action against The Irrawaddy newsroom continues

The Yangon court accepted the Myanmar military’s legal dispute against The Irrawaddy over the newsroom coverage of the conflict in Rakhine State. The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) reiterates its call for authorities to drop the case and protect journalist’s rights.

The Irrawaddy news’ editor U Ye Ni. Credit: The Irrawaddy

After a year of stalling, on March 16, the legal action against The Irrawaddy for contravening Article 66 (d) of the Telecommunications Law continued. The military filed a lawsuit against the Irrawaddy News’ editor U Ye Ni on April 12, 2019 at Kyauktada Police Station, in Yangon for its coverage of the conflict between Myanmar military and the Arakan Army (AA) in Mrauk-U town in Rakhine State.

Irrawaddy reported on the clashes between the Myanmar military and the AA, who want autonomy for the Arakanese people in Rakhine state. The conflict escalated in early 2019 after the attacks on police outposts in northern Rakhine on January 4. From January to March 2019, twelve civilians were killed in the armed conflict.

The Irrawaddy has reported on the clashes from both sides and followed up by contacting locals who were displaced by the clashes.

The military has taken legal action against the Irrawaddy twice now in the last four years. In June 2017, the Irrawaddy reporter Lawi Weng and the Democratic Voice of Burma’s Aye Naing and Pyae Bone Naing were detained by the military and charged under Article 17 (1) of the Unlawful Association Act during a reporting trip to northern Shan State. The journalists were in convoy visiting the Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA) in northern Shan State when the military at the checkpoint stopped and arrested them.

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