Over the past month, military-controlled courts in
Ngwe Soe Lin was first arrested on June 26, 2009, and was held in detention until his conviction last week, DVB reported. Ngwe Soe Lin took video footage of children orphaned by the 2008 Cyclone Nargis disaster for a documentary titled “Orphans of Burma’s Cyclone,” which was recognized last year with a Rory Peck Award for best documentary. When the award was announced in November 2009, DVB said a video journalist who had worked on the film who they identified as “T” had been imprisoned; his colleague, “Z” was in hiding, the group said.
Many of DVB’s journalists have remained anonymous due to fears that the authorities would extend their prison sentences if it was discovered that they had sent news, pictures, and videos to news outlets outside the country.
“While the world commends DVB reporter Ngwe Soe Lin for his courageous
and heartfelt reporting,
The ruling military junta has in recent years increasingly used the Electronics Act, which broadly forbids the unauthorized use of electronic media (including the Internet) to send information outside the country, to intimidate and punish reporters who work for foreign and exile-run news organizations. Hla Hla Win had covered various news stories considered sensitive to the regime, including last year’s controversial trial of detained opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi.
As of December last year, DVB editors estimated that 14 of its undercover reporters were being held in detention. With Ngwe Soe Lin’s conviction, DVB announced it would initiate a campaign, in cooperation with press freedom groups including CPJ, for the release of all its journalists now in detention.