Former newspaper columnist has been jailed for seven years in Myanmar over Facebook post criticizing the country’s leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi. The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) has criticized the sentence handed down to Ngar Min Swe and called for the charges to be dropped and he be immediately released.
On September 18, Ngar Min Swe, who is also known as Sar Min Swe was found guilty of inciting hatred against the government violating Section 124A of the penal code. The charges relate to a Facebook post on January 24, 2018 which criticized Aung San Suu Kyi. He was arrested on July 12 in the Hline Township in Yangon West. He was sentenced to seven years in jail and fined 100,000 kyat (USD64), but will face an addition year in jail if he fails to pay the fine.
Ngar’s sentencing comes after two Reuters journalists Wa Lone, 32, and Kyaw Soe Oo, 28 were jailed for seven years on September 3.
Radio Free Asia noted that Myanmar officials are increasingly suing critics and media for defamation and sedition, suggesting a change in the government’s approach to freedom of expression and press freedom.
The IFJ said: “The targeting of critics and journalists by the Myanmar authorities raises concerns about the increasingly oppressive authorities in Myanmar silencing critical expression. Myanmar’s democracy is under threat, with each arrest, detention and sentencing of critical voices weaken the fourth estate.”
For further information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific on +61 2 9333 0946
The IFJ represents more than 600,000 journalists in 140 countries
Find the IFJ on Twitter: @ifjasiapacific
Find the IFJ on Facebook: www.facebook.com/IFJAsiaPacific