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Five journalists among political prisoners amnestied by government

(RSF/IFEX) - Reporters Without Borders reiterates its support for Democratic Voice of Burma's call for the release of the 17 DVB journalists who are currently jailed in Burma. On 26 May 2011, one of these journalists, Ngwe Soe Lin, spent his 30th birthday continuing to serve the 13-year sentence he was given for his investigative coverage of children orphaned by Cyclone Nargis.

"We offer our moral support to Ngwe Soe Lin and his relatives during their difficult ordeal and we urge President Thein Sein to go further with the general amnesty he announced on 16 April by extending it to political prisoners, including journalists convicted by the military government," Reporters Without Borders said. "It is the only way to ensure that this political gesture is not seen as a government public relations stunt with no real effect."

Reporters Without Borders welcomes the recent release of five journalists:

- Aung Htun Myint, a freelancer who was released from a prison in the western city of Sittwe on completing a sentence on 12 May. He was arrested in Hmawbi, near Rangoon, for taking photos of the 2008 referendum on the new constitution.

- Zaw Tun of "News Watch Journal", who was arrested in September 2008 at a police roadblock near opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi's home.

- Nyan Lin Aung of "Beauty Magazine", who was arrested in 2009 for being in contact with two pro-democracy groups - the All Burma Federation of Student Unions and Generation Wave.

- Lu Tin Win, a 44-year-old journalist, poet and writer who was released from a prison in the southern city of Myeik on 17 May. He was arrested on 27 September 2007 for supporting the 2007 Saffron Revolution, a peaceful pro-democracy protest movement launched by Buddhist monks. He was also caught in possession of "88-Generation Students," a book about the 1988 pro-democracy protests.

- Thaung Win Bo, a 65-year-old journalist with "New Light of Myanmar" who was released from a prison in the central town of Tharrawaddy on 17 May. He was jailed for sending articles to his daughter, a Voice of America reporter.

Meanwhile, media censorship continues. According to Mizzima News, the authorities banned video recording at a regional government news conference on 17 May, one week after DVB provided video coverage of the preceding news conference.

Many journalists continue to be held in appalling conditions in jails throughout Burma.
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