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Myanmar: Burmese journalists given three year jail term for reporting

May 18th, 2021  •  Author:   International Federation of Journalists  •  2 minute read
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Min Nyo, a reporter at Democratic Voice of Burma (DVB) was sentenced to three years in jail under Section 505(a) of Myanmar’s Penal Code on May 12. The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) urges Myanmar’s military to release Min Nyo immediately.

Security forces prepare to search for protesters, who had been taking part in a demonstration against the military coup, in Yangon on May 7, 2021. (Photo by STR / AFP)

Nyo was arrested on March 3 while covering anti-military demonstrations in the town of Pyay. He was then “taken into custody and brutally beaten by police” according to a statement from DVB.

He is the first journalist to be sentenced under section 505(a) of Myanmar’s Penal Code, a new provision that has been created since the military coup began. The provision makes it a crime to publish a ‘statement rumour or report with intent to cause, any officer, soldier, sailor or airman, in the Army, Navy or Air Force to mutiny or otherwise disregard or fail in his duty as such’.

IFJ reporting can reveal that from the start of military coup began on February 1, 86 journalists have been arrested, 44 have been detained and 44 have been prosecuted. At least eight of these prosecutions have been made under Section 505(a) of the Penal Code. Only one out of 86 journalists has been released.

Journalists are facing an existential threat in Myanmar as they are required to hide their identities or be attacked by Myanmar’s military. This comes at a time when ASEAN is facing increasing pressure to quell the humanitarian and democratic crisis erupting in Myanmar.

The IFJ said: “We call upon Myanmar’s military to release Min Nyo immediately. The repressive Section 505(a) of the Penal Code must be repealed and journalists must be allowed to operate and move freely within Myanmar. Press freedom is paramount in Myanmar as the world needs to know what is happening on the ground.”

For further information contact IFJ Asia – Pacific on ifj

Twitter: @ifjasiapacific, on Facebook: IFJAsiaPacific and Instagram

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