Freedom of expression in Myanmar still ‘dire’: UN | 2019-05-08 |

Freedom of expression in Myanmar still ‘dire’: UN

8 May, 2019 12:00 AM printer

GENEVA: The UN on Tuesday praised the release of two Reuters journalists jailed for reporting on the Rohingya crisis in Myanmar, but warned that freedom of expression remains heavily restricted in the country, reports AFP.

The release of Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo is “good news,” United Nations human rights office spokeswoman Ravina Shamdasani told reporters in Geneva.

“Of course, they should never have been arrested or convicted in the first place,” she added.

Shamdasani noted that last year the rights office had issued a set of recommendations aimed at improving free speech in Myanmar.

“No positive progress has been observed,” in terms of implementing those changes, she said. “The situation for freedom of expression (in Myanmar) is dire.”

The journalists were arrested in December 2017, a sign of Myanmar’s deteriorating press freedoms under Nobel laureate and civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

They were convicted on charges of violating the official secrets act and sentenced to seven years each.