Editors of the Asia News Network (ANN), an alliance of 20 media in 18 Asian countries, have expressed shock and dismay at the detention of Dr Than Htut Aung, CEO of the Eleven Media Group, and of Wai Phyo, the group’s chief editor by authorities in Myanmar, reportedly for publishing an article on affairs in the country one year after the momentous national polls.
The article was published in Myanmar as well as translated into English, and published by several ANN member newspapers. Eleven Media is a member of the group.
The two Eleven Media journalists were charged under Section 66 (d) of the Telecommunications Act after the posting of the Myanmar language version on Facebook. The ANN editors appealed to the authorities in Myanmar and particularly to State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi to ensure that the law was not used to stifle comment or to curb freedom of the press. It was important, the editors said, for a young democracy to not be perceived as draconian, or as reacting disproportionately to criticism. While the ANN editors appealed to the authorities in Myanmar stressing that the law must take its course, the editors felt no useful purpose was served by detaining the two journalists without bail. On the contrary, such detentions would only intimidate the media and impede the democratic processes.
The editors have appealed to the authorities in Myanmar to immediately release the two journalists.