Afrique Ameriques Europe Moyen-Orient Internet Nations unies
Burma 20 July 2005

Press cartoonist Chit Swe arrested

Reporters Without Borders and the Burma Media Association have protested at the arrest on 12 July 2005, of press cartoonist Chit Swe, who is also deputy chairman of a local branch of the National League for Democracy (NLD).

His arrest came shortly after a meeting of members of NLD, the party headed by Aung San Suu Kyi, held on the morning of 12 July at Chit Swe’s home in Thanlyin, near the capital Rangoon. Even though the meeting was legal, the authorities arrested the cartoonist, aged around 50, under a law designed to curb criminal activity.

"The latest wave of releases of political prisoners - more than 300 in total - should not blind us to the reality of the crackdown on opposition figures," the two press freedom organisations said. "At least 12 democracy activists have been arrested over the past two weeks. The detention of Chit Swe is a serious violation of freedom of expression."

The cartoonist is being held in Thanlyin police station and will learn on 25 July what charges are being laid against him. If convicted, he could face a heavy prison sentence. If he is released he faces a ban on publishing his cartoons or at the very least surveillance by the Censorship Bureau.

Chit Swe, aged 65, has to sleep on the concrete floor of his cell. He suffers from tonsillitis and acute bronchitis that prevent him from eating normally.

Chit Swe’s cartoons, carried by two Rangoon financial magazines, Dhana Magazine and Myanma Dhana Magazine, are used to illustrate the country’s socio-economic problems. He also published cartoons in several publications as Shou Hwet Thae Pho, Moe Gyow or Ngwe Taryee. He is respected within the press as a talented artist.

In this country
29 May - Sri Lanka
Journalists trying to cover fate of Tamils are threatened, obstructed
28 May - Burma
Junta allows only one-sided coverage of Aung San Suu Kyi’s trial
15 May - Burma
Growing restrictions on free flow of information
15 May - Burma
Sakharov Network calls for immediate release of Aung San Suu Kyi, Sakharov Prize laureate 1990
29 January - Burma
Petition launched for release of two Burmese bloggers serving sentences of 20 and 59 years in prison

in the annual report
Burma - Annual report 2008
Burma - Annual report 2007
Burma - Annual report 2006

4 May 2009 - Nepal
Mission report : A call to end violence and impunity
2 April 2009 - Pakistan
Fact-finding visit by Reporters Without Borders to Swat “valley of fear”
16 March 2009 - Afghanistan
Report of fact-finding mission : Press freedom in free-fall in run-up to presidential election

Asia archives
2009 archives
2008 archives
2007 archives
2006 archives
2005 archives
2004 archives
2003 archives
2002 archives
2001 archives
2000 archives

Asia press releases
3 June - North Korea
Pyongyang judges asked to be lenient with two American journalists
3 June - Afghanistan
US forces arrest a journalist in Khost
3 June - China
“Tank Man” photo displayed outside Chinese embassy in Paris on eve of Tiananmen Square massacre
2 June - China
Blocking of Twitter, YouTube, Flickr and Blogger deprives Chinese of Web 2.0
2 June - Sri Lanka
Press freedom activist badly beaten in Colombo, hospitalised