Five reporters in Myanmar sentenced to 10 years in jail

Newspapers with a black front page are displayed at a stall in Yangon on April 11, 2014, after Zaw Pe, a journalist for the Democratic Voice of Burma (DVB) news website, was convicted of trespassing and 'disturbing a civil servant' by a court in the central town of Magway on 7 April. Newspapers in Myanmar ran black front pages in April to protest at the jailing of another reporter

Related Stories

A Myanmar court has sentenced five journalists to jail with hard labour for 10 years for writing that the military was making chemical weapons.

Their lawyer Wah Win Maung was quoted as saying they plan to appeal.

Yangon-based Unity Weekly News had published stories in January alleging the military had seized about 1,200 hectares in the central Magwe region.

The articles said the land was intended for a factory that would produce chemical weapons.

In January last year Myanmar, which is also known as Burma, denied accusations it had used chemical weapons against ethnic minority rebels in the northern state of Kachin, according to agencies.

Myanmar's government has rolled out a number of political reforms including relaxing media laws and censorship.

But several journalists have also been arrested in recent months and charged with trespassing or defamation, according to Reporters Without Borders.

Myanmar President Thein Sein visits a photo exhibition marking the 60th Anniversary of the 'Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence' at Diaoyutai State Guesthouse on 29 June 2014 in Beijing, China. President Thein Sein has warned of curbs on the media if it does not "help" the country

In April a journalist with the Democratic Voice of Burma website was jailed for one year for trespassing and "disturbing a civil servant" after he tried to interview an education official.

A number of newspapers printed black front pages in protest at that sentence.

President Thein Sein earlier this week warned of curbs on the media if it was not "helping" the country.

"We have attained one of the highest levels of press freedom in Southeast Asia, with the right to speak and write freely, because of political reform which is crucial in the transition process," he said.

"However, if media freedom threatens national security instead of helping the nation, we warn that we will take action under existing laws."

More on This Story

Related Stories

More Asia stories

RSS

Features

  • HandshakeKiss and make up

    A marriage counsellor on healing the referendum hurt


  • Pellet of plutoniumRed alert

    The scary element that helped save the crew of Apollo 13


  • Burnt section of the Umayyad Mosque in the old city of AleppoBefore and after

    Satellite images reveal Syria's heritage trashed by war


  • Woman on the phone in office10 Things

    The most efficient break is 17 minutes, and more nuggets


  • Amir TaakiDark market

    The bitcoin wallet with controversial users


BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.