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RSF releases video interviews with recently freed journalists and blogger

(RSF/IFEX) - 23 January 2012 - Reporters Without Borders, with help from its Partner organization Burma Media Association, is distributing video interviews with journalists U Zeya and Sithu Zeya of the exiled radio and TV station Democratic Voice of Burma (DVB) and the blogger Nay Phone Latt, all of whom were released from prison on 13 January.

“Burma Media Association appreciates the release of all imprisoned DVB journalists, three other journalists and a blogger. We would like to encourage the government to unconditionally release all remaining journalists and to enact laws that would protect journalists, and enshrine press freedom in Burma,” saidMaung Maung Myint, president of the BMA.

U Zeya supervised a team of video journalists who provided DVB with news footage from inside Burma until his arrest in April 2010 while he was covering a deadly bomb attack near Rangoon. He was convicted of unlawful association as well as violating immigration laws and the Electronic Act, for which he received prison sentences of five years, one year and seven years, respectively. He was held in Hsipaw prison in the northeast.

In his interview, he talks about prison conditions, discusses his future plans and gives his views on the present government.

His son Sithu Zeya was arrested at the same time. He was originally sentenced to eight years' imprisonment in May 2010 for, among other things, having contact with DVB, which is a banned organization in Burma, and for violating immigration laws. On 14 September last year, he was sentenced to a further 10 years on a charge of circulating material online that could “damage tranquillity and unity in the government” under the Electronic Act. He was held in Henzada prison in the southwest.

In this clip, he refers to the prison system, his political commitment, working conditions in the media as well as the issue of democracy.

Nay Phone Latt was released from Hpa-an prison in Karen state. The owner of three Rangoon Internet cafés, He was sentenced on 10 November 2008 to a total of 20 years and six months in prison for writing in his blog ( ) about the difficulties that young Burmese have encountered in their efforts to express themselves freely, especially after a wave of protests in the fall of 2007.

His sentence was reduced to 12 years on appeal. Despite suffering from health problems, he received no medical treatment in prison.

He was joint winner of the Reporters Without Borders press freedom prize in the cyber-dissident category in December 2008.

In his interview, he speaks of his experience in prison, the press freedom award and his vision of the future.

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