Myanmar: Media workers detained over corruption article must be released

Two media workers who were arrested and detained today on suspicion of “online defamation” over an article that made reference to allegations of government corruption must be released immediately, Amnesty International said.

“Arresting and detaining these two men raises serious concerns about the National League for Democracy-led government’s commitment to freedom of expression,” said Rafendi Djamin, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for Southeast Asia and the Pacific.

“While the new government has made some attempts to amend long-standing repressive laws that target activists and media workers, this case shows that those attempts do not go far enough.

“Using repressive laws to stifle peaceful criticism of government officials could cause other media workers in Myanmar to self censor. State officials are not above scrutiny, and journalists have an important role in holding them accountable.

“These media workers must be released immediately.”

Than Htut Aung and Wai Phyo are the chief executive officer and chief editor respectively at Eleven Media Group.

They were transferred to Insein prison on Friday afternoon after police questioned them about the article, which was posted on Than Htut Aung’s Facebook page last week before being published by various Asian news outlets.

The two men are being investigated under Myanmar’s Telecommunications Law and could face up to two years in prison. They are next scheduled to appear in court on 25 November.

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