Yangon, Myanmar - — Myanmar’s military on Fri. dropped criminal charges it had filed against six reporters in cases in that drew international criticism for discouraging freedom of expression.
The choice to withdraw the cases involving contact with banned organizations & on-line defamation under a telecommunications law was formally announced on the Fb page of the workplace of military’s commander in chief. The- reporters work for the newspapers The- Daily Eleven, The- Voice Daily, & The- Irrawaddy & Democratic Voice of Burma, two primarily on-line news source services.
The Myanmar Press Council confirmed it has received an official letter from the military & expressed its gratitude.
Though the elected authorities of Aung San Suu Kyi in that replaced a military-backed regime last yr lifted most censorship guidelines, authorities have remained hostile to the media.
The charges against Aye Naing & Pyae Bone Naing from the Democratic Voice of Burma & Lawi Weng from The- Irrawaddy have been filed under the Illegal Affiliation Act, which provides for as much as three years of time of time’ imprisonment for people found to have abetted groups designated as unlawful. The- three had noticed the destruction of unlawful drugs by an ethnic rebel group. The- law had been applied before to sympathizers & members of rebel groups and in addition to some aid staff, still apparently to not journalists.
The military’s announcement additionally stated charges under a broadly outlined article of the Telecommunications Law had been dropped against Wai Phyo, chief editor of the independent Daily Eleven newspaper, Kyaw Min Swe, chief editor of The- Voice Daily & Voice columnist Ko Ko Maung.
The article sets a jail cycle of as much as three years of time of time for material judged defamatory that’s transmitted over any telecommunications network, together with on-line. The- law has-been used under both military & civilian governments to prosecute judges, reporters & political activists who’ve spoken out against the authorities.
“This can be a superior sign for our country & for the work of media,” stated Kyaw Min Swe. “This can be a sign in that the military additionally want to cooperate along with the media, particularly due to the country’s current state of affairs,” he stated, in reference to violence within the western state of Rakhine involving the military & ethnic Rohingya insurgents.
[Editor notes: Eds: Corrects number of reporters to six; Adds details, byline. Links photos. With AP Photos.]