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VOA Asia Weekly: Heightening Restrictions on Journalists in Myanmar

VOA Asia Weekly: Heightening Restrictions on Journalists in Myanmar
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New Myanmar legislation targets journalists and social media access. Dozens of Cambodian opposition activists convicted of treason. Indonesia leadership shuffle takes aim at cooking oil shortage. Buddhism relics journey from India to Mongolia.

Freedom of the press under attack in Myanmar.

Hello and welcome to VOA Asia Weekly. I'm Chris Casquejo in Washington. That story is coming up.

But first, making headlines.

South Korean truckers are back on the job, ending a nationwide strike that crippled ports and industrial hubs for eight days.

The U.S. Federal Reserve raised its key interest rate by three-quarters of a percentage point, the largest increase since 1994.

U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin reiterated U.S. support for Taiwan at the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore.

Australia’s Minister of Defense met Japan’s Defense Minister in Tokyo, with Australia saying it wants deeper cooperation with Japan.

Chinese factory output nationwide rebounded in May, adding to a recovery from the latest COVID-induced economic slump following the easing of pandemic-related shutdowns.

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights urged member states to intensify pressure on Myanmar's military junta amid continued reports of violence and human rights violations.

Independent media in Myanmar are facing new attempts to block access to information and free expression as they report on the aftermath of the military takeover. Steve Sandford reports for VOA.

The number of displaced persons in Myanmar keeps climbing as clashes between the military junta and anti-military forces continue. Now reporters are fleeing to borderlands and neighboring countries as the junta imposes more restrictions and punishments on reporters working there.

Here in Thailand, journalists like Hsa Moo continue to do their work, documenting evidence in Myanmar despite the risks.

She is wearing a face mask and hat to protect her identity for security reasons.

“When you go inside, you face the Burmese army shelling and everything so ... When you see the IDPs, they also feel very happy because they know that somebody, some people still care for them.”

Seng Li — not his real name — is a news editor covering Myanmar. He also asked that his identity be protected for safety reasons.

Getting access to information is expected to get even worse in Myanmar under new Cybersecurity legislation that is expected to become law.

The proposed measure would forbid the use of Virtual Private Networks, or VPNs, which allows users to access social media sites, which have been banned by the military-backed State Administration Council, or SAC.

“Myanmar is not like other countries. Before it was called the Facebook nation because 99% of the public use Facebook so that is why SAC [The State Administration Council] also try to ban Facebook.”

Despite the mounting risks that come with the job, Myanmar journalists continue to get the word out, as the crisis within the country worsens.

Steve Sandford, for VOA News.

Visit our website for the most up-to-date stories. This is VOA Asia Weekly.

A Cambodian-American lawyer and dozens of members of a now-dissolved opposition party were convicted of treason in a trial that was the latest move to tame all opposition to the long-running rule of Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen.

Following the verdict, security guards put lawyer Theary Seng into a vehicle and drove away. Some of her supporters struggled with police.

Seng arrived at the court in Phnom Penh dressed as Lady Liberty. She and most of the other defendants had been charged over a failed attempt by the leader of the defunct Cambodia National Rescue Party to return from exile in 2019.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo announced a Cabinet reshuffle, replacing key economic ministers amid a national cooking oil shortage and rising food prices.

Widodo named a new trade minister who vowed to quickly tackle the shortage.

Indonesia banned crude palm oil exports for a month in April after prices skyrocketed. Indonesia and Malaysia are the world’s largest exporters of palm oil, accounting for 85 percent of global production.

Finally, four holy relics of Lord Buddha were flown to Mongolia from India to mark Buddha Purnima, the birth anniversary of Lord Buddha.

The four relics brought by the Indian delegation were placed in the monastery during a ceremony. Devotees offered prayers to mark the occasion.

The relics were among 22 antiques recovered from a site in India's eastern Bihar state.

Thanks for watching VOA Asia Weekly. I’m Chris Casquejo. See you next week.