Home Today's Paper Most Popular Video Gallery Photo Gallery
Subscription Blog Signin Register
Logo
Thursday, January 11, 2018 11:11:14 PM
Follow Us On: Facebook Twitter Twitter Twitter Twitter

Obtaining state secrets

Journalists are charged in Myanmar

photo by NN Photo

The Reuters journalists U Wa Lone, center front, and U Kyaw Soe Oo, center back, were escorted by the police in Yangon after being charged with obtaining state secrets on Wednesday.

By
12th-Jan-2018       
Comments
Share your thought
Post a comment »
Read all () »

The New York Times , BANGKOK :
Two journalists for the Reuters news agency were formally charged in Myanmar with obtaining state secrets, prosecutors said Wednesday, in a case seen as a key test of the country's nascent political freedoms.
The reporters, U Wa Lone and U Kyaw Soe Oo, have been accused of violating the Official Secrets Act, a law dating to the British colonial period that carries a maximum punishment of 14 years in prison.
The journalists were brought to court in Yangon, Myanmar's commercial capital, where they were arrested on Dec. 12, almost immediately after being given unidentified documents by members of the police.
Before their arrest, the journalists had been investigating the existence of a mass grave in Rakhine State, where a military campaign against Rohingya Muslims has sent more than 655,000 members of the persecuted minority fleeing to Bangladesh over the past four and a half months.
While the United States and the United Nations have called the campaign against the Rohingya ethnic cleansing, the Myanmar government has blocked independent investigators and journalists from the epicenter of violence, making it difficult to gather proof of atrocities. On Wednesday evening, the military released the results of its investigation into the mass grave in the village  of Inn Din, which the Reuters journalists had been investigating. A statement on the Facebook page of the military's commander in chief, Senior Gen. Min Aung Hlaing, said that the 10 bodies there were of Muslims who had been taken to the cemetery and killed by villagers and security forces "because they were terrorists."
The army crackdown on the Rohingya began after Rohingya insurgents attacked security posts in late August.
Rohingya in Bangladesh refugee camps have given consistent accounts of rape and murder at the hands of the Myanmar military and Buddhist vigilantes. Satellite images collected by human rights groups document the destruction by fire of hundreds of Rohingya villages in northern Rakhine.
Negotiating a scrum of journalists gathered in front of the Insein courthouse in Yangon on Wednesday morning, Mr. Wa Lone struck a defiant pose, raising his cuffed hands and later flashing a thumbs-up sign.
"We are not doing anything wrong," Mr. Kyaw Soe Oo told journalists after the hearing. "Please help us by uncovering the truth." A lawyer for both journalists, U Than Zaw Aung, said that Mr. Wa Lone is suffering from a hernia and back pain but has received no medical treatment while in detention. The next court appearance for his clients will be on Jan. 23, he said.
"The situation is very unclear," said Ma Pan Ei Mon, Mr. Wa Lone's wife. "I'm hoping all the time that he will be released soon."  In a statement, Stephen J. Adler, the president and editor in chief of Reuters, called the move to prosecute the reporters "a wholly unwarranted, blatant attack on press freedom," adding, "We believe time is of the essence and we continue to call for Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo's prompt release."
Understand the world with sharp insight and commentary on the major news stories of the week.
You agree to receive occasional updates and special offers for The New York Times's products and services.
The United States and the European Union both called for the men's release on Wednesday. "For democracy to succeed and flourish, journalists must be able to do their jobs," the embassy said in a statement.
Although Myanmar now has a civilian government, led by Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, the military that ruled the country for nearly half a century still controls the most important levers of power. The Tatmadaw, as the military is known, runs the Home Ministry, which administers Myanmar's internal affairs, including its prisons and police. Human rights groups have accused the police of entrapping the two Reuters journalists by giving them documents that were then deemed state secrets. Ms. Pan Ei Mon said her husband never had a chance to look at the papers before he was arrested.
Myanmar's elected civilian government has been accused of acquiescing to a crackdown on the media that belies the commitment to democratic values once espoused by Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi's governing party, the National League for Democracy. Since the party took power in 2016, at least 32 journalists have been charged with various crimes, according to We Support Journalists, a local media watchdog.
Many of the journalists have been imprisoned after reporting on abuses taking place in Myanmar's ethnic frontier lands, where the military has been fighting various ethnic guerrilla groups for decades.
U Swe Win, a veteran journalist and former political prisoner who is himself facing defamation charges that could return him to jail, noted that the news media, which had been muzzled during military rule, enjoyed a renaissance during a period of transitional governance from 2011-15, when U Thein Sein, a former junta general, led the country.
Dozens of new publications emerged from the shadow of censorship in those years. But today, local reporters are uncertain whether their investigations, particularly into military malfeasance, might land them in jail.
"Now we don't have transparency, and we don't know what's happening inside the government," Mr. Swe Win said. "All we know is that we journalists are always facing problems with the military, which means the civilian government has no power."

Tariff
Add Rate

News Archive

Inside The New Nation

International »

Mudslides and flooding kill at least 13 in California


Reuters, Los Angeles :At least 13 people died and thousands fled from their homes in Southern California on Tuesday as a powerful rainstorm triggered flash floods and mudslides on slopes where a series of intense wildfires burned off protective vegetation last month.Heavy downpours struck before dawn on Tuesday after thousands ...

Editorial »

Effective gold import policy needed


THE price of gold has raised up to Tk 1,400 a bhori [11.664 gm] in the local market from Wednesday crossing the Tk 50,000 mark again within a span of only a few months. According to the newspaper reports, under the new price set up, a bhori of 22-karat gold ...

Sports »

Nadim Molla (left) of Narayanganj District and Disha Sultana of Manikganj District, the fastest man and fastest woman of the Dhaka Divisional phase of the Bangladesh Youth Games showing their medals at the Bangabandhu National Stadium on Wednesday.


Entertainment »

I used to have a major soft corner for poetry: Priyanka Chopra


Actor Priyanka Chopra is back in New York to shoot for her American TV show, Quantico. The question is: when will Priyanka be seen in her next Bollywood film, because with a full-fledged Hollywood career, the 35-year-old actor is being very picky right now. The big rumour has been that ...

City »

BNP Chairperson Begum Khaleda Zia appeared in the special court in corruption case at Bakshibazar Alia Madrasa in the city yesterday.


Football »

Brighton & Hove Albion's Jose Izquierdo breaks through Crystal Palace's Martin Kelly, right, and Jairo Riedewald, during their English FA Cup, Third Round soccer match at the AMEX Stadium in Brighton, England on Monday.


Cricket »

Mathews returns as Sri Lanka's limited-overs captain


AFP, Colombo :Sri Lanka on Tuesday announced Angelo Mathews would return as skipper for limited-overs cricket ahead of the 2019 World Cup, just six months after the allrounder stepped down from the post.The move comes as a surprise after Mathews, 30, quit last July as captain in all three formats ...

Editorial »

ACC is afraid and hesitant to proceed against big corruption


YES, in terms of combating corruption at the very high levels of our society and particularly ranging from bureaucracy, banking to almost all spheres of the public and the private sectors - the ACC has often appeared weak and hesitant. In fact the government too keeps ignoring the anti-graft body. ...

Entertainment »

Kangna Sharma features Parde Me Rehne Do Remix song


Actress Kangna Sharma, who was seen last year in the film Great Grand Masti, featured in the The Spartan Poker Digital ad, she also featured in Hardy Sandhu’s new song Yaar Ni Milya. Now her next song Parde Mein Rehne Do releases by SaReGaMa Music. The very popular song Parde ...

Entertainment »

Abul Hayat in Kolkata’s short film


Entertainment Report :For the first time noted actor, director, playwright and model Abul Hayat worked in a movie of Kolkata. He acted in a short film titled Ginni under Samrat Das’ direction. It was also scripted by the director Samrat. Abul Hayat has already taken part in shooting of the ...

Entertainment »

Yami Gautam sizzles in the sexiest magazine shoot ever


Actress Yami Gautam set the temperatures soaring on the cover of Maxim, which undeniably is the sexiest shoot of the actress till date! Maxim is known to feature the sexiest divas of Bollywood. This month’s cover was graced by the gorgeous beauty Yami Gautam who unveiled her boldest avatar. Yami ...

International »

US sets deadline for 200,000 Salvadorans to leave


AFP, Washington :The US government announced Monday the end of a special protected status for about 200,000 Salvadoran immigrants, a move that threatens with deportation tens of thousands of well-established families with children born in the United States.Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen announced the end of the "temporary protected status" ...

Business & Economy »

Temirbek Erkinov, honorary consul of Kyrgyz Republic, discussing about bilateral issues with Md Siddiqur Rahman of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) at the latter's office on Monday.


City »

Former minister Prof Abu Sayeed speaking at a discussion on Bangabandhu's Homecoming Day organised by Bangladesh Muktijuddha Gabeshana Kendra at the Jatiya Press Club on Tuesday.


International »

Macron calls for Europe-China alliance on climate, Silk Road


AFP  :French President Emmanuel Macron urged Europe Monday to take part in China's Silk Road revival plan, despite some European misgivings about the massive project, as he began a state visit.Macron also called on Europe and China to team up on curbing climate change, in the face of US plans ...

 
Items that you save may be read at any time on your computer, iPad, iPhone or Android devices.
 
Are you new to our website? Do you have already an account at our website?
Create An Account Log in here
Email this news to a friend or like someone
Email:
Write a comment to this news