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Myanmar Photojournalist Sentenced to 20 Years in Prison for Cyclone Coverage
Published : Sep 8, 2023, 1:03 pm IST
Updated : Sep 8, 2023, 1:03 pm IST
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Journalist
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This indicates a grave concern for press freedom in Myanmar

MYANMAR: A Myanmar court has handed down a 20-year prison sentence to a photojournalist associated with an 'underground news agency' for his coverage of a devastating cyclone in May, according to an announcement made by the media organization on Wednesday. This stern sentence has been imposed on Sai Zaw Thaike, a photojournalist employed by the independent online news service 'Myanmar Now,' which is not officially recognized by the government.

This verdict marks one of the most severe punishments meted out to any journalist in Myanmar since the military seized power from the elected government led by Aung San Suu Kyi in February 2021. Reporters Without Borders, a press freedom advocacy group, highlighted in April that Myanmar ranks as the second-highest country in the world for imprisoning journalists, trailing only behind China. Moreover, the World Press Freedom Index for 2023 paints a grim picture, ranking Myanmar at a dismal 176th place out of 180 countries, indicating a grave concern for press freedom in the nation.

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The Sentencing of Sai Zaw Thaike underscores the ongoing challenges faced by journalists in Myanmar, particularly those working with independent and unofficial news outlets. The incident raises further questions about the state of media freedom and the safety of journalists operating in the country.


 

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ROZANA SPOKESMAN , AMANAT THAPER

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