Human rights watchdog, Freedom House issued a statement condemning the contempt of court charges filed against 17 journalists in Burma. Freedom House said in their statement that the contempt of court charges filed against the 17 journalists was an indicator of the lack of press freedom in Burma.
Freedom House’s executive vice president, Daniel Calingaert said.
“This action is indicative of a broader trend to harass and imprison journalists, which has resulted the imprisonment of 10 journalists in the past 12 months.”
Freedom House said that the “Ministry of Information’s decision to file contempt of court charges against 17 journalists is extremely troubling and paints a worrying picture for press freedom in Myanmar as the country heads toward elections later this year.”
Freedom House said that the government’s charges against 17 journalist from the Eleven Media Group for its “news coverage of a trial of 5 senior members of the same media organization, who are being charged for defaming the Ministry of Information by reporting on possible corruption within the Ministry.”
The Freedom House statement said that the Ministry of Information “claims that Eleven Media Group’s coverage of the trial has put undue pressure on the court.”
Eleven Media Group was charged with defamation for a “news article alleging that the Ministry of Information had misused public funds during the procurement of a printing press.”