At least six media workers have been detained since the turn of the year as Myanmar authorities are stepping up a disturbing crackdown on freedom of expression and jailing new prisoners of conscience, Amnesty International said ahead of World Press Freedom Day on 3 May.
“The crackdown on free media in Myanmar is a deeply worrying attempt to silence dissenting views. It casts doubt on the government’s promises to improve respect for human rights,” said Rupert Abbott, Amnesty International’s Deputy Asia-Pacific Director.
“We are seeing a continuation of the practice of arresting and detaining human rights defenders and peaceful political activists – a hallmark of the country’s previous military government.”
“Myanmar must immediately and unconditionally release all prisoners of conscience including the six media workers who have been detained this year. The authorities should scrap or amend draconian legislation that restricts the freedoms of expression, association and peaceful assembly.”
In a statement released today, Myanmar: Jailing of new prisoners of conscience casts doubt on reform process, Amnesty International documents the cases of the six media workers arrested in 2014 – Zaw Pe, a video journalist for the media organization Democratic Voice of Burma (DVB), who was sentenced to one year in prison after investigating corruption in Magwe Region; and four journalists and the CEO of Myanmar’s Unity newspaper, who have been detained for an article on an alleged chemical weapons factory, also in Magwe Region.