Myanmar: Reporter sentenced to five years in prison under terrorism law

On April 5, Win Naing Oo, a reporter for Myanmar news outlet Channel Mandalay, was sentenced to five years in prison for alleged incitement under Myanmar’s Counter-Terrorism Law. The International Federation of Journalists condemns the sentencing of the journalist and calls on Myanmar authorities to immediately revoke the charges against him.

Channel Mandalay chief correspondent Win Naing Oo. Credit: Twitter

A court inside Obo Prison sentenced Win Naing Oo, the former chief correspondent at Channel Mandalay, to five years in prison under Section 52 (A) of Myanmar’s Counter-Terrorism Law.  

Under the law, “whoever is convicted of committing [acts of terrorism] shall be sentenced to a minimum of three-year imprisonment to a maximum of seven-year imprisonment”. 

The journalist was sentenced along with three others, Min Thwe, Kyaw Oo and Zaw Min Oo, who were also charged with terrorism.  

According to Myanmar Now, the junta has not released any other information regarding Win Naing Oo’s case, including his connection with the other accused.  

Authorities first arrested Win Naing Oo and his wife, Thu Thu, on August 31, 2021 at a mango farm in Sintgaing, Mandalay. He was charged with incitement under Section 505 (A) of Myanmar’s Penal Code on September 15, 2021.  

The journalist was set to be granted amnesty by the Obo Prison court, however, just before he was to be released, the offer was retracted and he was instead sentenced to prison.  

This is not the first time Win Naing Oo has been targeted by the military junta. In 2019 the journalist was charged with defamation under Section 66 (D) of Myanmar’s Telecommunications Law for a story on the military’s confiscation of land near Pyin Oo Lwin.  

Myanmar’s Counter-Terrorism Law has been criticised in the past for being “overly broad”, and a way for the junta to justify the arrest and jailing of journalists in the country. 

The IFJ said: “The sentencing of Win Naing Oo is unjustifiable and yet another example of the junta’s persecution of journalists in Myanmar. The IFJ urges Myanmar’s military authorities to immediately drop all charges against the journalist and calls for a repeal of the draconian Counter-Terrorism Law, which has been used to justify the arbitrary arrests of journalists in Myanmar.” 

For further information contact IFJ Asia - Pacific on [email protected]

The IFJ represents more than 600,000 journalists in 140 countries

Twitter: @ifjasiapacific, on Facebook: IFJAsiaPacific and Instagram