Global Journalism Community Criticizes Myanmar for Jailing Two Reporters on Bogus Charges

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(FILE) A file picture taken in front of the Saudi Consulate in Neuilly-Sur-Seine, west of Paris on October 1, 2019 shows dummies with press armbands and jacket piled up by Reporters without borders (RSF) members during a protest to mark the one year of the death of Jamal Khashoggi. - The annual report by Reporters Without Borders (RSF) said on April 19, 2021 that journalism was at least partly blocked in nearly three-quarters of the 180 countries surveyed. Its World Press Freedom Index found 73 countries "totally blocked or seriously impeded" journalism, while it was "constrained" in 59 others, adding that many governments had used the pandemic to worsen repression. (Photo by PHILIPPE LOPEZ / AFP) Photo: Philippe Lopez/AFP/dpa

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) on Friday accused the Myanmar military of jailing two journalists on trumped-up charges and demanded their release.

Aung Kyaw, a reporter from the Democratic Voice of Burma, and Ko Zaw Zaw, a freelance reporter with Mizzima News, were sentenced to two years in prison under a newly revised colonial-era law that criminalizes the spread of “misinformation” that could “abet mutiny.”

“Sentencing journalists to jail because of a claim they are spreading false news is a gratuitous condemnation of free speech and free media,” the federation said.

The IFJ urged Myanmar’s military, which overthrew the elected government in February, to release all detained journalists and reform the penal code that had stripped journalists of their rights. It estimated that at least 87 journalists had been arrested, 45 detained and 46 prosecuted since February 1.

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