Reporters Without Borders reiterates its support for Democratic Voice of Burma’s call for the release of the 17 DVB journalists who are currently jailed in Burma. One of these journalists, Ngwe Soe Lin, is spending his 30th birthday today continung to serve the 13-year sentence he was given for his investigative coverage of children orphaned by Cyclone Nargis.
“We offer our moral support to Ngwe Soe Lin and his relatives during their difficult ordeal and we urge President Thein Sein to go further with the general amnesty he announced on 16 April by extending it to political prisoners, including journalists convicted by the military government,” Reporters Without Borders said. “It is the only way to ensure that this political gesture is not seen as a government public relations stunt with no real effect.”
Reporters Without Borders welcomes the recent release of five journalists:
- Aung Htun Myint, a freelancer who was released from a prison in the western city of Sittwe on completing a sentence on 12 May. He was arrested for taking photos in Hmawbi, near Rangoon, of the 2008 referendum on the new constitution.
- Zaw Tun of News Watch Journal, who was arrested in September 2008 at a police roadblock near opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi’s home.
- Nyan Lin Aung of Beauty Magazine, who was arrested in 2009 for being in contact with two pro-democracy groups – the All Burma Federation of Student Unions and Generation Wave.
- Lu Tin Win, a 44-year-old journalist, poet and writer who was released from a prison in the southern city of Myeik on 17 May. He was arrested on 27 September 2007 for supporting the 2007 Saffron Revolution, a peaceful pro-democracy protest movement launched by Buddhist monks. He was also caught in possession of “88-Generation Students,” a book about the 1988 pro-democracy protests.
- Thaung Win Bo, a 65-year-old journalist with New Light of Myanmar who was released from a prison in the central town of Tharrawaddy on 17 May. He was jailed for sending articles to his daughter, a Voice of America reporter.
Media censorship meanwhile continues. According to Mizzima News, the authorities banned video recording at a regional government news conference on 17 May, one week after DVB provided video coverage of the preceding news conference.
Many journalists continue to be held in appalling conditions in jails throughout Burma. To draw attention to the problems of Burmese journalists and the importance of the photos and video footage they send to international and exile media as sources of information about the situation inside Burma, Reporters Without Borders, Info Burma and Amnesty International are organizing a screening of the documentary “Free Burma VJ” this evening in Paris.
Nominated for an Oscar, the film uses video footage secretly filmed by DVB reporters to place the spectator at the heart of the Saffron Revolution. The screening will be followed by a debate.
The Democratic Voice of Burma (DVB) is today celebrating the 30th birthday of Ngwe Soe Lin, a DVB video journalist who will mark the occasion in his cell in Insein prison, Rangoon.
Ngwe Soe Lin was arrested by military intelligence on 26 June 2009 along with a friend in an internet café in Rangoon. After spending several weeks at the Aungthabyay interrogation centre, he was sent to Insein prison. Seven months later, on 27 January 2010, a special military court attached to Insein prison sentenced him to 13 years in prison on charges related to the Electronics and Immigration Acts, which are often used to sentence independent journalists.
Ngwe Soe Lin joined DVB in early 2008 and reported from around the country. He played a vital role in recording the lives of children left orphaned by cyclone Nargis in 2008. His video records were turned into a Channel 4 documentary, ‘Orphans of Burma’s Cyclone’, for which he received the prestigious Rory Peck Award 2009, honouring cameramen working in dangerous environments. He was awarded this whilst in detention.
To mark his birthday and to raise global awareness of the work of these brave video journalists, DVB has organised several screenings around the world of Orphans of Burma’s Cyclone
We firmly believe that his sentencing is wrong, and acknowledge the suffering that his friends, family and colleagues, as well of course as Ngwe Soe Lin himself, have endured. DVB demands that the Burmese government frees him immediately, as well as five other DVB video journalists who are serving lengthy prison sentences for their footage: Hla Hla Win, Win Maw, Sithu Zeya and Maung Maung Zeya. They are a small portion of the 17 DVB journalists behinds bars in Burma – for security reasons we cannot name all of them, but we need your help to free them.
Sign the petition here: www.freeburmavj.org/petition
Watch the video: http://www.freeburmavj.org/news-and-report/ngwe-soe-lin-marks-his-30th-b...