Where is MyanmarMyanmar? Where's Myanmar?
To this day, the country's freedoms of the written word only seem to have dwindled. Two Reuters reporters were indicted by Myanmar attorneys in a Myanmar tribunal just last night for violating a non-disclosure act dating from the settlement period, which included up to 14 years in prison.
The Myanmar government has already used the Act to persecute and detain reporters on matters of concern to the armed forces. The charges were brought after Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo, both of Burma's nationalities, were detained in December under the Official Secrets Act after supposedly receiving secret papers from two police officers at Yangon for supper.
There are controversial topics in the state, both the free media and the Rohingya war. Myanmar's difficult democratic transformation after nearly five centuries of rule over the Burmese regime has been highlighted by this case of dwindling media freedoms. The recent arrest of journalists has given rise to a whole series of demands for the immediate release of Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo.
Reuters' case against the Reuters journalist has shock many political groups, among them media federations and embassies. Myanmar's US ambassador immediately disappointed and demanded the "immediate release" of the reporter. "In order for the democratic process to be successful and thrive, it is essential that the work of the journalist is done," the message added.
"It reiterates our previous call for the two reporters to be released immediately and without conditions, as the grounds for their detention are groundless. It was only as a journalist that Walt Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo tried to get over the repression of information about the state of Rakhine," he added.
"The free media is crucial for a free economy - the imprisonment of reporters everywhere is unacceptable," he tweetted on Monday. "Reuters reporters detained in Myanmar should be immediately released." Myanmar, which ranks 131 out of 180 in the 2017 World press freedom index, was imprisoned in 2017 alone for various causes, among them reporting on the Rohingya problem, drugs problems and others.
Myanmar three Myanmar correspondents were detained in June last year after they reported on a cremation ceremonies for the incineration of drugs. The AFP has accused investigators of illegal unification, a bill applied against followers of Myanmar's many ethnically based organizations that fight for independence in frontier areas. Enquirer Swe Win was imprisoned at Yangon International Airfield in July for criticizing a Nazi friar on Facebook.
Then he was indicted under the notorious 66 (d) statutes, which cover on-line slander. During their work for the TRT radio station in Turkey, three reporters and their drivers were detained for having flown a UAV near MEPs. Despite the official lifting of the 2012 deadline for censoring, in order to prevent any criticisms of the administration or the military, reporters and other institutions are still practising self-censorship, fearing that the same will happen to them.
In Myanmar, only the times will tell whether Myanmar's media freedoms under the guidance of Aung San Suu Kyi will become younger or find their way to the top.