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Burmese Journalists Demand Release of Their Colleague

  • VOA News

Reporters shout as they march to demonstrate for press freedom in Rangoon, Jan. 7, 2014.
Dozens of Burmese journalists have held a protest to demand the release of one of their colleagues after a three-month prison term was handed down to Ma Khine.

The journalists and activists held signs saying "The Right to Information is the Life of Democracy" as they marched through downtown Rangoon on Tuesday.

Ma Khine had been was working on a story about corruption when she was arrested in the eastern state of Kayah.

She was convicted last month of trespassing, using abusive language, and defamation, after interviewing a lawyer for the story. Her employer, the Eleven Media Group, and international rights groups suspect the charges are politically motivated.

Since direct military rule in Burma, also known as Myanmar, ended in 2011, a nominally civilian government has introduced a number of media reforms, including relaxing censorship and releasing imprisoned journalists.

Nonetheless, the media rights group Reporters Without Borders ranked Burma 151st out of 179 nations in press freedom. The group has called for a review of Ma's case.