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Myanmar authorities charge six journalists

Authorities in Myanmar have charged Related Press journalist Thein Zaw and 5 different members of the media with violating a public order legislation that would see them imprisoned for as much as three years, a lawyer stated Tuesday.

The six had been arrested whereas overlaying protests towards the Feb. 1 navy coup in Myanmar that ousted the elected authorities of Aung San Suu Kyi. The group consists of journalists for Myanmar Now, Myanmar Photograph Company, 7Day News, Zee Kwet on-line news and a freelancer.

Lawyer Tin Zar Oo, who represents Thein Zaw, stated the six have been charged beneath a legislation that punishes anybody who causes worry among the many public, knowingly spreads false news, or agitates immediately or not directly for a prison offense towards a authorities worker.

The legislation was amended by the junta final month to broaden its scope and improve the utmost jail time period from two years.

AP’s Thein Zaw, 32, was taken into custody on Saturday morning in Yangon, the nation’s largest metropolis. He’s reported to be held in Insein Jail in northern Yangon, infamous for housing political prisoners beneath earlier navy regimes.

In keeping with the lawyer, Thein Zaw was remanded into custody by a courtroom and might be held till March 12 with out one other listening to or additional motion.

The AP has known as for his instant launch.

“Unbiased journalists should be allowed to freely and safely report the news with out worry of retribution,” Ian Phillips, AP vp for worldwide news, stated after the arrest. “AP decries within the strongest phrases the arbitrary detention of Thein Zaw.”

The Committee to Defend Journalists joined that decision.

“Myanmar authorities should launch all journalists being held behind bars and cease threatening and harassing reporters for merely doing their jobs of overlaying anti-coup avenue protests,” stated Shawn Crispin, CPJ’s senior Southeast Asia consultant. “Myanmar should not return to the previous darkish ages the place navy rulers jailed journalists to stifle and censor news reporting.”

Thein Zaw was arrested as police charged towards protesters gathered at an intersection in Yangon that has grow to be a gathering level for demonstrators.

Authorities escalated their crackdown on the protesters this previous weekend, finishing up mass arrests and utilizing deadly power. The U.N. Human Rights places of work stated it believes not less than 18 individuals had been shot lifeless Sunday in a number of cities when safety forces opened fireplace on demonstrating crowds.

The coup reversed years of gradual progress towards democracy after 5 many years of navy rule.

In December 2017, two journalists working for the Reuters news company had been arrested whereas engaged on a narrative about Myanmar’s Rohingya minority. They had been accused of illegally possessing official paperwork, though they argued that they had been framed due to official opposition to their reporting.

Though their case attracted worldwide consideration, they had been convicted the next yr and had been sentenced to seven years behind bars. They had been freed in 2019 in a mass presidential pardon.

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