Public order charge brought against blogger and journalist
|Publisher||Reporters Without Borders|
|Publication Date||1 August 2008|
|Cite as||Reporters Without Borders, Public order charge brought against blogger and journalist, 1 August 2008, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4896c481c.html [accessed 31 October 2014]|
|Disclaimer||This is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.|
Reporters Without Borders and the Burma Media Association condemn the charge of disturbing public order that have been brought against Zarganar, a well-known comedian and blogger, and Zaw Thet Htwe, a sports journalists. Arrested in early June for criticising the government's relief efforts after Cyclone Nargis and, in Zarganar's case, for talking to the BBC, they are facing up to two years in prison under article 505 (b) of the criminal code.
"The fact that the first hearing was held behind closed doors bodes ill for the way Zarganar and Zaw Thet Htwe will be tried for helping the victims of the cyclone," the two organisations said. "We call on the United Nations and its new special rapporteur for Burma, who will soon visit the country, to intercede on their behalf."
The trial of Zarganar and three other activists accused of participating in unofficial cyclone relief operations in the delta area began on 30 June before a special court inside Insein prison. A defense lawyer, Aung Thein, was quoted by Reuters as saying the trial was due to continue on 7 August.