Reporters Without Borders and the Burma Media Association condemn the 13-year jail sentence passed on journalist Ngwe Soe Lin by a special court inside Rangoon’s Insein prison on 27 January. He is the second video reporter for a Burmese exile radio and TV station based in Oslo to be convicted in the space of a month.
“The military junta has again expressed its phobia of uncontrolled video reporting by imposing a heavy prison sentence on a Democratic Voice of Burma video journalist,” the two organisations said. “He should be freed at once, as should Hla Hla Win, the young women reporter who was given a 20-year sentence four weeks ago after providing DVB with video material.”
Reporters Without Borders and the Burma Media Association added: “As regards media freedom, we believe that none of the conditions are being met for this year’s elections to be considered free and democratic.” At least 15 journalists and netizens are currently detained in Burma.
Ngwe Soe Lin was convicted under the Electronics Act and the Immigration Emergency Provisions Act. He was arrested on 26 June 2009 as he was leaving an Internet café in a Rangoon suburb with one of his friends, who was arrested and interrogated by the police for nearly two months before being released.
Ngwe Soe Lin’s sister-in-law, Aye Mee San, said special police officers came to their home three days after his arrest and confiscated a video camera. She added that Ngwe Soe Lin’s lawyer intends to appeal against his conviction.
Aye Chan Naing, the head of the Oslo-based DVB, confirmed to Reporters Without Borders that Ngwe Soe Lin worked for the station. Referring to the sentence, he said: “It is a clear sign of the nature of the threats hanging over those who work as journalists, and on the control that is going to be exerted over the media prior to the elections.”
Information about Hla Hla Win’s conviction: http://www.rsf.org/Appalling-20-year-jail-sentence.html