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Five journalists freed in May 3 amnesty

FROM THE DVB NEWSROOM

Five journalists were among the 2,153 released from prison in an amnesty on May 3. All of those freed had been sentenced under Section 505 (A) of the Penal Code for “incitement,” or dissent against the military. Photographer Zaw Tun (aka Blake) was released after serving only one year and four months of a three year sentence. He was arrested alongside Soe Naing on Dec. 10 while photographing the Silent Strike in Yangon. Soe Naing died in detention five days later, on Dec. 15. Mizzima freelance journalist Mabel aka Nyein Nyein Aye was released from Tharyarwaddy Prison in Bago Region.

Zaw Lin Htut (aka Phoe Thar) after his release from prison.

Photojournalist Zaw Lin Htut (aka Phoe Thar), freelance reporter Yin Yin Thein (aka Nabar) and editor Kyaw Zeyya were also freed. At least 170 media workers have been arrested since the 2021 military coup. Four journalists have been killed. Fifty-three are currently in custody and facing prison sentences. Besides the penal code, journalists have been prosecuted under the Counter-Terrorism Law, Telecommunications Law and Arms Act, which carries 12 years to life in prison. Reporters Without Borders (RSF) ranked Burma at the bottom of its 2023 World Press Freedom Index at 173 out of 180. The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) states that Burma is the third worst jailer of journalists behind Iran and China.

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