New York, July 10, 2014--Donor countries should bring diplomatic pressure on Burma's government and reconsider their economic support for the country following Thursday's sentencing of four journalists of a magazine and the publication's chief executive to 10 years of hard labor in prison, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.
The media landscape in Burma is more open than ever, as President Thein Sein releases imprisoned journalists and abolishes the former censorship regime. But many threats and obstacles to truly unfettered reporting remain, including restrictive laws held over from the previous military regime. The wider government’s commitment to a more open reporting environment is in doubt. A CPJ special report by Shawn W. Crispin
Amid the rush to see changes in Burma as an inexorable move toward full democracy--Aung San Suu Kyi's electoral victory over the weekend is certainly cause for hope--CPJ has maintained a healthy skepticism about media reform in Burma. Shawn Crispin's "In Burma, press freedom remains an illusion," posted on Friday, is the most recent example of our thinking on the subject.
Just ahead of this weekend's highly anticipated Burma by-elections, opposition icon Aung San Suu Kyi today denounced the vote as not "free and fair." Indeed, Thein Sein government's harassment of opposition media in the run-up to the polls raises disturbing questions about the country's reputed new democratic direction after decades of repressive military rule.
When President Thein Sein pardoned over 300 political prisoners last week in Burma, CPJ reported that at least nine journalists were among those released. Since then, the exile-run Democratic Voice of Burma (DVB) has announced that all of its jailed reporters, including a group of eight who had remained anonymous, are now free.
Bangkok, January 13, 2012--The Committee to Protect Journalists welcomes the release of nine journalists who were freed as part of a mass release of at least 600 political prisoners in Burma on Friday, but calls on President Thein Sein to release reporters still being held in detention and to implement press reforms that would end the country's repressive media environment.
Burma's newly installed democratic government has sent tentative signals that it intends to allow for more media openness as the country transitions from military to civilian rule. The continued detention of more than 2,100 political prisoners, including as many as 25 journalists, however, belies President Thein Sein's recent press-promoting pronouncements.
Do you believe the free flow of information must be protected? Sign the #RightToReport petition and demand that President Obama immediately:
1. Issue a presidential policy directive prohibiting the hacking and surveillance of journalists and media organizations.
2. Limit aggressive prosecutions that ensnare journalists and intimidate whistleblowers.
3. Prevent the harassment of journalists at the U.S. border.
Or click here to see the full petition, and join leading journalists like Christiane Amanpour, The Guardian’s Alan Rusbridger, Editor of the AP Kathleen Carroll, and Arianna Huffington in signing on.