World Association of News Publishers

Protest Campaign - Myanmar, 20 December 2013

Protest Campaign - Myanmar, 20 December 2013

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His Excellency President Thein Sein
People’s Republic of the Union of Myanmar


20 December 2013


Your Excellency,

We are writing on behalf of the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA) and the World Editors Forum, which represent 18,000 publications, 15,000 online sites and over 3,000 companies in more than 120 countries, to express our concern over a recent court judgment that saw journalist Ma Khine sentenced to three-months in prison.

According to reports, Ms Khine, a reporter with Eleven Media Group, was on assignment when she was asked to leave the house of an interviewee. She had entered the property only after showing her press credentials and receiving permission from the owner. Regardless, Deputy Judge Mya Min Han of Loikaw Township Court sentenced the reporter for trespassing, defamation and use of abusive language.

Ms Khine has been charged under three different sections of the penal code and will serve one-month jail terms, to run consecutively, for each charge. We are concerned over the nature of this decision when such offences, where proven, are usually redressed through financial penalties or a fine.

We respectfully urge you to call for an immediate investigation into the sentence and to ensure there has been no political interference or mishandling of the case. We are concerned that this type of punishment sends a chilling effect amongst the Myanmar media, a particularly worrying development ahead of elections in 2015.

Your government is to be congratulated for making significant advances in media reform, and in particular for relaxing censorship laws. In recognition of the changing media climate, WAN-IFRA awarded its 2012 Golden Pen of Freedom to Dr Than Htut Aung, CEO of the Eleven Media Group, for his long-standing commitment to a free press. We hope this sentence and its potential implication for press freedom in Myanmar are not an indication of a reversal of these advances.


We look forward to hearing from you at your earliest convenience.



Tomas Brunegård
World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers


Erik Bjerager
World Editors Forum


WAN-IFRA is the global organisation for the world’s newspapers and news publishers, with formal representative status at the United Nations, UNESCO and the Council of Europe. The organisation groups 18,000 publications, 15,000 online sites and over 3,000 companies in more than 120 countries.


Andrew Heslop's picture

Andrew Heslop


2013-12-20 16:58

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In countless countries, journalists, editors and publishers are physically attacked, imprisoned, censored, suspended or harassed for their work. WAN-IFRA is committed to defending freedom of expression by promoting a free and independent press around the world. Read more ...