Today is World Press Freedom Day. We are joining with Amnesty International, Burma Partnership and others around the world to call for the release of the Unity Five – five journalists in Burma in prison for doing their job.
Journalists in Rangoon stage a protest over the jaiiing of the Unity journalists. (Photo: Sai Zaw / The Irrawaddy)
Increased media freedom was one of the key reforms highlighted by the international community as evidence of Burma's transition to democracy.
However, over the past year the situation for Burma's journalists has deteriorated rapidly. Journalists are facing increased harassment and restrictions. Media freedom watchdog, The Committee to Protect Journalists, recently listed Burma as one of the top 10 most censored countries in the world.
After the success of U Win Tin Blue Shirt Day, we are keeping up the pressure for the release of all Burma's political prisoners.
Who are the Unity Five? Lu Maw Naing, Yarzar Oo, Paing Thet Kyaw and Sithu Soe are journalists for the Unity newspaper and Tint San is its chief executive officer. They have been sentenced to seven years imprisonment with hard labour for "disclosing state secrets" after publishing an article about an alleged secret chemical weapons factory in Magwe Region, central Burma.
Take action today! Help us flood Burma's Minister of Information's Facebook page with messages calling for the release of the Unity Five. We believe that he is in a position to influence their release.
Here are suggested Twitter and Facebook messages you can post on the Minister of Information's Facebook page:
Journalism is NOT a crime. #FreeUnity5 #PressFreedomDay
5 journalists in prison for reporting but journalism NOT a crime: #FreeUnity5 #PressFreedomDay
#FreeUnity5: journalists in #Myanmar are not criminals: #PressFreedomDay
Facebook posts for your own wall to gather support for the action:
TEXT 1 In Burma, 5 journalists are serving 7 years in jail for publishing an article the government didn't like. Journalism is not a crime: comment on the Minister of Information's Facebook account https://www.facebook.com/ye.htut.988?fref=ts and demand #FreeUnity5.
TEXT 2 Journalism is NOT a crime. Demand the release of 5 journalists imprisoned in Burma for doing their job. Leave a comment on Burma's Information Minister's page https://www.facebook.com/ye.htut.988?fref=ts. #FreeUnity5!
TEXT 3 Five journalists in Burma are serving 7 years in jail for doing their job. On World Press Freedom Day help flood the Minister of Information's Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/ye.htut.988?fref=ts : leave a comment demanding their release. #FreeUnity5.
Thank you for your support. Anna Roberts Burma Campaign UK