Journalist from Norwegian supported DVB has been sentenced to prison in Myanmar

A protester holds the National League for Democracy (NLD) flag during a demonstration against the military coup. STR/AFP via Getty Images

A military court in Myanmar has sentenced journalist Min Nyo to three years in prison for his articles in Democratic Voice of Burma (DVB), media BT reports.

In 1992 the Norwegian government provided support to establish the Oslo-based Democratic Voice of Burma which started as a non-profit media organization based in Oslo, Norway, and Chiang Mai, Thailand. The organization was run by Burmese expatriates and made radio and television broadcasts aimed at providing uncensored news and information about Myanmar.

DVB was in exile until 2011 but when a new media law allowed the media to return to Myanmar and broadcast freely, the media organization gradually moved back into the country where it operated as an independent media company, called ‘DVB Multimedia Group’.

Following Myanmar’s Military coup in February however, the military junta withdrew DVB’s broadcasting rights and banned the media from reporting on all kinds of platforms in the country.

Min Nyo is supposedly the first journalist to be convicted under a recently revised provision code since the military seized power. Critics say the provision criminalizes freedom of speech.

Earlier this week, three other DVB journalists who had fled Myanmar were arrested in northern Thailand and the three are charged with being in the country illegally. Human rights groups and journalists’ associations have called on the Thai authorities not to send them back to Myanmar. This is due to concerns for their safety in their home country.

Since the military removed the democratically elected government under Aung San Suu Kyi on February 1, about 80 journalists in Myanmar have been arrested. About half are still detained with most of them on the same charge that Min Nyo was found guilty of.

According to a statement from DVB, Min Nyo was arrested and beaten by police on 3 March as he was covering a demonstration facing the military regime in the city of Pyay. He was allowed to speak to a lawyer, but he was not allowed to see his wife and two children.

“It is inhumane to be beaten and arrested. He has never violated journalistic ethics. That is why I want to say that there is no justice in Myanmar”, his wife, Nyomee Moe said to the news agency AP.

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