Press Freedom

Press Freedom

The Number of Journalists Charged Under the Current Government  

October 10th, 2018

            Athan found that there have been 44 journalists who have faced trials and 28 complaints against the journalists under the current government. Of all the cases, seventeen were sued by government officials, three by the Military and eight by various individuals.

            Most cases have been filed under Article 66(d) of the Telecommunications Law. Others have been filed under the Unlawful Association Law, the Burma Official Secrets Act, Section 500 and 505(b) of the Penal Code, the News Media Law, the Law Protecting the Privacy and Security of Citizens, the Myanmar Aircraft Act, the Export and Import Law and the Immigration Act.

            Many of those cases can be found detailed in Athan’s October 2018 mid-term report on freedom of expression under the new government in co-operation with the Southeast Asian Press Alliance. The report documents incidents of violations of the freedom of expression, freedom of press and the right to peaceful assembly supported by individual case studies. It is based on findings from original research as well as statistics compiled by Athan.

            For instance, charges documented in the report include the cases of Ko Swe Win, the incumbent editor-in-chief of Myanmar Now Media, which required the defendant, a Yangon resident, to attend court hearings in Mandalay regularly; the case of Eleven Media vs Yangon Region’s chief minister; a columnist in Thanintharyi region being charged by the regional government for a satire piece; a case in which a journalist was charged, eventually under article 68(a) of the Telecommunications Law, after a video report produced but not published by him or his employer was put on Facebook by a third party against the journalist’s expressed instructions; a journalists’ network that was pressured to move offices; a regional reporter in Mandalay region who, after reporting on wood cutting factories in the region, was threatened; two cases in which journalists were fired for their writing; MNTV ceasing to broadcast the BBC’s Burmese programme because it used terms banned by Myanmar’s government and lastly the case of two Reuters journalists arrested under the Official Secrets Act.


The report can be found here.