17 January 2012
IFJ Welcomes Release of Journalists in Burma
The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), with the support of the Burma Media Association (BMA), welcomes the release of journalists and bloggers under an amnesty announced by the Government of Burma on 13 January, 2012.
The amnesty comes after a long advocacy campaign to free Burma’s journalists, supported by both the BMA and IFJ.
Those released included 13 Journalists working for the Burmese exile radio and television station Democratic Voice of Burma (DVB). Three other journalists — Sein WIn Maung, Thant Zin Aung and Zaw Thet Htwe — were also released, in addition to blogger Nay Phone Latt.
According to a DVB report, the amnesty was issued under article 401(1) of Burma’s Code of Criminal Procedure, unlike previous amnesties which were issued under article 204 of Burma’s Constitution. The report suggested this signifies the amnesty was not approved by the country’s influential National Defence and Security Council.
This year’s large-scale amnesty follows a number of high-profile prisoner releases in 2011.
In October 12, blogger and comedian Zarganar was freed from Myitkyina prison, in the northern state of Kachin, under a “general amnesty”. Aung Kyaw San, writer and publisher of the Myanmar Tribune, was released from Taunggyi prison in eastern state of Shan, on January 26. Three other journalists — Aung Htun Myint, Zaw Tun, Nyan Lin Aung and Lu Tin Win — were released between May 12 and 17. Three other DVB journalists were also released in late December.
“The IFJ is pleased to hear news of so many journalists being released from prison in Burma,” IFJ Asia-Pacific Director Jacqueline Park said.
“However, we maintain that their incarceration was a disgraceful abuse of power and attack on press freedom. We call upon the Burmese regime to extend its amnesty to all journalists and political prisoners as a true indication of their commitment to democracy and human rights.”
According to the DVB, the following journalists remain imprisoned in Burma.
- - Detained since 13 October 2009 - Nyi Nyi Tun - Kantarawaddy News Journal
- - Detained since 18 June 2009 - Zaw Tun - freelance
- - Detained since 15 February 2008 - U Sein Win Maung - Myanmar Nation
- - Detained since 28 August 2007 - Win Saing - photo-journalist
- - Detained since 9 June 2006 - Aung Than - poet
- - Detained since 24 March 2006 - U Thaung Sein – freelance photo-journalist
- - Detained since 24 March 2006 - Ko Moe Htun - Dhamah-Yate
- - Detained since February 2004 - Ne Min- freelance
- - Detained since 17 February 1998 -Aung Htun - freelance
For further information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific on +612 9333 0950
The IFJ represents more than 600,000 journalists in 131 countries
Find the IFJ on Twitter: @ifjasiapacific
Find the IFJ on Facebook: www.facebook.com/IFJAsiaPacific