Myanmar Charges 17 Journalists
In response to the contempt of court charges filed against 17 journalists in Myanmar, Freedom House issued the following statement:
“The Ministry of Information’s decision to file contempt of court charges against 17 journalists is extremely troubling and paints a worrying picture for press freedom in Myanmar as the country heads toward elections later this year,” said Daniel Calingaert, executive vice president. “This action is indicative of a broader trend to harass and imprison journalists, which has resulted in the imprisonment of 10 journalists in the past 12 months.”
The allegation of contempt of court was filed against 17 members of Eleven Media Group for its news coverage of a trial of 5 senior members of the same media organization, who are being charged for defaming the Ministry of Information by reporting on possible corruption within the Ministry. The Ministry claims that Eleven Media Group's coverage of the trial has put undue pressure on the court. Eleven Media Group was charged with defamation in the underlying case for a news article alleging that the Ministry of Information had misused public funds during the procurement of a printing press.
Freedom House is an independent watchdog organization that supports democratic change, monitors the status of freedom around the world, and advocates for democracy and human rights.