Published on Saturday, 19 April 2014 23:42
Pen Myanmar, organised by Nay Phone Latt, blogger, activist, and winner of the PEN/Barbara Goldsmith Freedom to Write Award, released a statement on April 18 condemning unfair imprisonment sentenced to DVB reporter Zaw Pe, aka Thura Thet Tin.
Magway township court sentenced the DVB reporter to one year in jail plus hard labour under Section 353 and Section 448 on April 7. The first penalty is for obstruction of authorities' duty and the second punishment is for trespass.
Pen Myanmar expressed concerns over the security for the journalists who are struggling for freedom of expression in the transition period to democracy, the statement said.
The freedom of expression is the inalienable right of every citizen. Moreover, the Chapter (8) of the 2008 Constitution stated that the citizens have the right to express and publish freely their convictions and opinions. Only then security can be fully given to the journalists, will the freedom of expression take effect and the citizens get access to information, the statement said.
The place where the township education officer takes office is the public area where anyone can go in and out. For this case, the journalist went to the government office, which is a public area, within office hour. Trespass means invading privately owned area. The journalist has no intention to frighten, insult and begrudge and so taking action against the journalist by using the outdated penal codes goes against the Section 448, the statement said.
Moreover, although the Section 353 is protected the public servant for obstruction of authorities' duty, the journalist made no attempt to disturb and stop. Taking this action against the reporter is not appropriate, the statement said.
Such punishment given to the journalists seems to threaten and bully media professionals who are struggling for the citizens' right to know information. The imprisonment to the journalists encroaches upon the freedom of expression, the statement said.
The DVB reporter and a parent of a student tried to question about qualification criteria of students being sent to Japan under the Kizuna Project, run by the Japanese government in August in 2012. For that reason, Magway Township Court sentenced Democratic Voice of Burma reporter Thura Thet Tin, aka Zaw Pe, and a parent Win Myint Hlaing for one year in jail on April 7 for trespassing, obstructing officials on duty and conspiracy to do so, according to local sources.
All journalist associations at home and abroad considered that such imprisonment sentenced to the journalists was a proof of media oppression and demanded for an immediate release of the journalists, targeted for oppression.Source: http://www.articles.myanmaronlinecentre.com/pen-myanmar-denounces-unfair-imprisonment-to-dvb-reporter/