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Three Myanmar journalists charged under ‘public tranquility’ law

Three journalists were arrested in Myanmar’s commercial hub, Yangon, on Tuesday for violations of a colonial-era law protecting ‘public tranquility’, according to their employer.

Local newsgroup Eleven Media editors, Kyaw Zaw-Linn and Na Yi-Min and senior reporter Phyo Wai, were charged under Section 505(b) of Myanmar’s penal code at Tamwe Township police station, according to Eleven’s executive editor, Ko Oo.

“I don’t know why they have been charged, but they are not being held yet,” Ko said.

Tamwe Township police station did not answer dpa’s calls.

Section 505(b) forbids publishing statements or reports ‘with intent to cause, or which is likely to cause, fear or alarm to the public’ or induce a person to ‘commit an offence against the state or against the public tranquility’.

It is punishable by two years in jail.

Myanmar Press Council and local media said all three reporters had been detained.

Zaw-Linn posted on Facebook on Tuesday that he had acted “ethically’’ when he wrote an article on Yangon’s chief minister, Phyo Min Thein.

Myanmar’s de facto leader, Aung-San Suu-Kyi, has been slammed for a backsliding in press freedom in the country after ending decades of military rule in elections in 2015.

In August, Myanmar jailed for seven years under a colonial-era law two local reporters working for Reuters.

The pair were arrested after uncovering a massacre of minority Rohingya Muslims, 700,000 of whom have fled Myanmar since security forces launched a brutal crackdown which the UN has said had “genocidal intent.”

(dap/NAN)

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