Journalist sentenced to 10 additional years in Myanmar

By Jacob Demmitt
A 21-year-old independent journalist had 10 years tacked onto a prison sentence Wednesday, bringing his detainment to 18 years.
Sithu Zeya, who worked for Norway-based Democratic Voice of Burma, was originally arrested after taking pictures of a grenade attack in Yangon in 2010.
The courts added an additional charge of circulating material online that could “damage tranquillity and unity in the government,” the Associated Press reports.
After generations of military rule, the Myanmar junta ceded power to the people in March of this year as part of a “roadmap to democracy,” according to the AP.
Reporters Without Borders criticized Myanmar authorities, saying the move demonstrates the reform is only for outside appearances.  
The AP article reads:
“’How can the Burmese government claim to be on the road to democracy when its judicial system flouts fundamental human rights?’ Reporters Without Borders said in a statement late Wednesday, criticizing the latest sentence against Sithu Zeya. ‘Recent events show that the conciliatory gestures so far taken by this government are just part of a PR strategy and are not indicative of a real intention to give Burmese citizens more media freedom.’”
What lessons can public affairs students take away from this incident?
Does everyone in the world share the right to report which we enjoy in the United States?
How safe are these rights if the government chooses not to respect them?


One Comment on “Journalist sentenced to 10 additional years in Myanmar”

  1. Tessa Harmon says:

    First and foremost, this story reminds me just how lucky we as Americans to have such extended freedoms that are not only respected but adored by our government. The story also acts a warning to public affairs students on just how dangerous international investigative reporting can be. You must learn and understand the rights that journalists have in the countries that you visit and report on because if you don’t you can end up in jail. I am not sure that all of the criticism on the Burmese government is prompted–shouldn’t we fully support those rights despite the circumstances?

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