In response to Reuters journalists Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo’s release from prison in Myanmar on the 7th of May, The Economist shared a salient piece on why the government’s decision to release them, after more than 500 days in prison, is not a sign that attitudes to press freedom are improving in Myanmar.

Their release is undoubtedly wonderful news, however, it does not indicate a change in attitude when the country’s wider stance on press freedom is considered:

“Under Ms Suu Kyi freedom of expression in Myanmar is being severely curtailed. A report released in January by Human Rights Watch, an NGO, found that a piece of loosely worded legislation which was supposed to regulate the telecoms sector is being used to crackdown on journalists and silence government critics. Since the National League for Democracy took power in 2016, about 140 cases have been brought under this law, many of which are baseless. Scores of reporters still languish in prison. Many of those who remain free now feel compelled to self-censor.”

Read the full piece here.

Photo credit: The Economist

 

Press freedom in the age of COVID-19

The Alliance for Journalists’ Freedom is speaking to journalists and publishers in the Asia–Pacific to determine the impact the COVID-19 virus has had – and is having – on press freedom in the region.

Please help us gather this data by taking this short survey, and sharing it with other journalists, publishers and press freedom organisations, so that we can design effective and long-term regional solutions to support press freedom in the Asia–Pacific.