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Myanmar Journalists Charged Over Visit with Ethnic Rebels

FILE - A local journalist wears an arm band supporting press freedom as he gathers with other journalists during the court appearance of a newspaper editor and a columnist at a township court.

Three Myanmar journalists who reported on a drug burning ceremony by ethnic rebels have been charged with violating a law that provides up to three years' imprisonment for people who abet illegal groups.

The three were detained as they were returning from a ceremony in northern Shan state held by the Ta'ang National Liberation Army, which is among several guerrilla groups fighting against the Myanmar government.

Toe Zaw Lat, a senior journalist at the Democratic Voice of Burma, said Wednesday that two of his reporters, Aye Naing and Pyae Bone Naing, and Lawi Weng of The Irrawaddy online news service have been officially charged under the Unlawful Association Act.

Groups that advocate freedom of expression say the arrests reflect government hostility toward the media.