Myanmar: Surge in Arrests for Critical Speech | Human Rights Watch
Myanmar’s authorities have in recent weeks engaged in a series of arrests of peaceful critics of the army and government, Human Rights Watch said today. The parliament, which begins its new session on April 29, 2019, should repeal or amend repressive laws used to silence critics and suppress freedom of expression.
The recent upswing in arrests of satirical performers, political activists, and journalists reflects the rapid decline in freedom of expression in Myanmar under the National League for Democracy (NLD) government. In the latest blow to media freedom, on April 23, the Supreme Court upheld the seven-year prison sentences of two Reuters journalists accused of breaching the Official Secrets Act. Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo, who won Pulitzer prizes earlier in April for their reporting, had been prosecuted in apparent retaliation for their investigation of a massacre of Rohingya villagers in Inn Din, Rakhine State, that implicated the army.
“Myanmar’s government should be leading the fight against the legal tools of oppression that have long been used to prosecute critics of the military and government,” said Brad Adams, Asia director. “During military rule, Aung San Suu Kyi and many current lawmakers fought for free expression, yet now the NLD majority in parliament has taken almost no steps to repeal or amend abusive laws still being used to jail critics.”