(YANGON, Myanmar) — Authorities in Myanmar have charged Related Press journalist Thein Zaw and 5 different members of the media with violating a public order regulation that might see them imprisoned for as much as three years, a lawyer mentioned Tuesday.
The six have been arrested whereas masking protests in opposition to the Feb. 1 navy coup in Myanmar that ousted the elected authorities of Aung San Suu Kyi. The group contains journalists for Myanmar Now, Myanmar Picture Company, 7Day Information, Zee Kwet on-line information and a freelancer.
Lawyer Tin Zar Oo, who represents Thein Zaw, mentioned the six have been charged underneath a regulation that punishes anybody who causes concern among the many public, knowingly spreads false information, or agitates straight or not directly for a felony offense in opposition to a authorities worker.
The regulation was amended by the junta final month to broaden its scope and enhance the utmost jail time period from two years.
AP’s Thein Zaw, 32, was taken into custody on Saturday morning in Yangon, the nation’s largest metropolis. He’s reported to be held in Insein Jail in northern Yangon, infamous for housing political prisoners underneath earlier navy regimes.
In accordance with the lawyer, Thein Zaw was remanded into custody by a courtroom and may be held till March 12 with out one other listening to or additional motion.
The AP has referred to as for his instant launch.
“Impartial journalists have to be allowed to freely and safely report the information with out concern of retribution,” Ian Phillips, AP vice chairman for worldwide information, mentioned after the arrest. “AP decries within the strongest phrases the arbitrary detention of Thein Zaw.”
The Committee to Defend Journalists joined that decision.
“Myanmar authorities should launch all journalists being held behind bars and cease threatening and harassing reporters for merely doing their jobs of masking anti-coup avenue protests,” mentioned Shawn Crispin, CPJ’s senior Southeast Asia consultant. “Myanmar should not return to the previous darkish ages the place navy rulers jailed journalists to stifle and censor information reporting.”
Thein Zaw was arrested as police charged towards protesters gathered at an intersection in Yangon that has develop into a gathering level for demonstrators.
Authorities escalated their crackdown on the protesters this previous weekend, finishing up mass arrests and utilizing deadly power. The U.N. Human Rights places of work mentioned it believes not less than 18 individuals have been shot useless Sunday in a number of cities when safety forces opened fireplace on demonstrating crowds.
The coup reversed years of sluggish progress towards democracy after 5 a long time of navy rule.
In December 2017, two journalists working for the Reuters information company have been arrested whereas engaged on a narrative about Myanmar’s Rohingya minority. They have been accused of illegally possessing official paperwork, though they argued that they have been framed due to official opposition to their reporting.
Though their case attracted worldwide consideration, they have been convicted the next 12 months and have been sentenced to seven years behind bars. They have been freed in 2019 in a mass presidential pardon.