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Another Journalist Gets a Long Jail Sentence

By Reporters Without Borders and Burma Media Association  •  February 10, 2011

Reporters Without Borders and the Burma Media Association are appalled that yet another journalist has been given a long jail term. A Rangoon court sentenced video reporter Maung Maung Zeya on 4 February to five years in prison for two violations of the Unlawful Association Act, one year under the Immigration Act (for crossing the border illegally) and seven years under the Electronics Act – a combined total of 13 years in prison.

Maung Maung Zeya has worked for years for Democratic Voice of Burma (DVB), an Oslo-based radio and TV station that is one of the few independent Burmese media. At the time of his arrest in April 2010, he headed a team of video journalists who clandestinely provided DVB with video coverage of events inside Burma.

His son, Sithu Zeya, 21, was sentenced last December to eight years in prison on similar charges. Both were arrested for trying to cover the aftermath of deadly bombings in a Rangoon park in April. Following his arrest, Sithu Zeya was placed in solitary confinement in Insein prison and was reportedly tortured. According to DVB, 17 fellow inmates went on hunger strike in protest against his mistreatment.

Maung Maung Zeya’s conviction came just days after Kaung Myat Hlaing, a young blogger also known as Nat Soe, was given a ten-year jail sentence under the Electronics Act.

In a report issued last December, Reporters Without Borders and the Burma Media Association jointly urged the international community to seek the release of imprisoned journalists and bloggers, who are favourite targets of the junta, to press for the abolition of the prior censorship system and to increase support for privately-owned Burmese news media and Burmese media based abroad.

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