The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) welcomes the release of five journalists in Myanmar. However the IFJ urges the government takes immediate steps to guarantee media freedom and release all journalists and media workers who are still behind bars.
Bi Mon Te Nay journalists Kyaw Zaw Hein, Win Tin and Aung Thant and its publishers, Yin Min Tun and Kyaw Min Khaing were among the 6,966 prisoners pardoned in a mass Presidential amnesty in Myanmar on 30 July 2015. The amnesty coincides with the national Buddhist holiday.
The journalists were arrested on July 8, 2014 and sentenced to two in prison in October on charges of defamation under Article 505(b) of the penal code after the paper published claims that opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi and ethic leaders had formed an interim government to replace President Thein Sein’s military-backed administration. Article 505(b) broadly criminalises statements that could “alarm the public” or potentially induce any person “to commit an offence against the state”.
The IFJ said: “While we welcome the release of five journalists in Myanmar, we urge the government to immediately release all journalists and media workers who remain in prison. Media freedom in Myanmar has been on a steady decline over the past 12 months and immediate action needs to be taken to remedy the situation and ensure the safety and welfare of the country’s media community.”
For further information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific on +61 2 9333 0946
The IFJ represents more than 600,000 journalists in 134 countries
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