Myanmar police on Wednesday held 3 journalists of Eleven Media after the daily slammed the financial management of Yangon’s government, which is overseen by de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi. Media reports say they are being investigated under Section 505 (b) of Myanmar’s Penal Code, a law that is often used to muzzle freedom of press and human rights activists. Executive editors of the media house, Kyaw Zaw Lin and Nayi Min and chief reporter Phyo Wai Win were carried in a vehicle with handcuffs on Wednesday morning to the Yangon court.
A report by Aljazeera said a case was registered against the journalists for publishing an article on Monday regarding the funding behind the city’s bus network, a scheme promulgated by Yangon chief minister and Suu Kyi aide Phyo Min Thein. All of them could be fined and face an imprisonment for 2 years if a court rules out that their story was published with an intent to orchestrate violence, fear or alarm the public.
Meanwhile, this is not the 1st time Eleven Media Group has been targeted by the government officials. Earlier in November 2016, the paper’s then Editor-in-Chief was arrested for a column that accused the ruling dispensation of receiving watch worth $100,000 from a businessman.
The arrests came days after 2 news agency Reuters journalists were sentenced to 7 years in jail for probing the extrajudicial killings of Rohingya Muslims during a violent military crackdown in 2017.
Following the arrest, De facto leader Suu Kyi faced massive condemnation from the international community for showing incompetence toward the protection of human rights and freedom of the press.