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Burma 1 August 2008

Public order charge brought against blogger and journalist

Reporters Without Borders and the Burma Media Association condemn the charge of disturbing public order that have been brought against Zarganar, a well-known comedian and blogger, and Zaw Thet Htwe, a sports journalists. Arrested in early June for criticising the government’s relief efforts after Cyclone Nargis and, in Zarganar’s case, for talking to the BBC, they are facing up to two years in prison under article 505 (b) of the criminal code.

“The fact that the first hearing was held behind closed doors bodes ill for the way Zarganar and Zaw Thet Htwe will be tried for helping the victims of the cyclone,” the two organisations said. “We call on the United Nations and its new special rapporteur for Burma, who will soon visit the country, to intercede on their behalf.”

The trial of Zarganar and three other activists accused of participating in unofficial cyclone relief operations in the delta area began on 30 June before a special court inside Insein prison. A defense lawyer, Aung Thein, was quoted by Reuters as saying the trial was due to continue on 7 August.




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

reports
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
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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