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Signature campaign launched for release of journalists in Burma

A local journalist holds up an arm band supporting press freedom as he gathers with other journalists during the court appearance of a chief newspaper editor and a columnist in Yangon, Burma, 8 June 2017
A local journalist holds up an arm band supporting press freedom as he gathers with other journalists during the court appearance of a chief newspaper editor and a columnist in Yangon, Burma, 8 June 2017

AP Photo/Thein Zaw

This statement was originally published on mizzima.com on 1 July 2017.

A signature campaign was launched on June 30, 2017 for the immediate release of all journalists who were arrested and charged under section 66(d) of the Telecommunications Law.

This signature campaign was organized and led by the Myanmar Journalists Protection Committee and was attended by news media and held in front of Yangon Town Hall.

Myanmar Journalists Protection Committee member Thar Lun Zaung Htet said that the journalists in Myanmar were facing oppression and they were frequently detained by unfair laws so that they launched this campaign to raise awareness about this media repression among the people [of Myanmar] and the international community.

"The laws are arbitrarily used and some laws they disliked are ignored. So they apply the laws they like and they ignore the laws they dislike. This unfair practice must not be done. The current situation of our media world has been worsened considerably. So we will continue our movement in accordance with the law," journalist Thar Lun Zaung Htet said.

All media are homogeneous and standing together, he added.

"I don't want to explain the views of actions were taken only to [support] The Voice or The Eleven. I'd like to let (the government and military) know that all media are homogeneous and all are standing together at one place. We won't say The Voice or The Eleven distinctively. All are our media," journalist Thar Lun Zaung Htet said.

Aung Myo Min, Executive Director of Equality Myanmar which is advocating for human rights issues, said that arresting and detaining three reporters by Tatmadaw for allegedly having contact with unlawful associations was doing more than provided in the law.

The Myanmar Journalists Protection Committee launched this signature campaign and they will forward the signatures collected to another partner organization; they reportedly plan to continue other protest actions in the future.

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