It was a dark week for press freedom in Myanmar.

On Monday morning, after over eight months in detention, Reuters journalists Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo were sentenced to seven years in prison for violating the colonial-era Official Secrets Act.
The verdict in the landmark case is a massive blow to the already dwindling press freedom in Myanmar.
Defacto leader Aung San Suu Kyi has the ability to pardon the pair- but it seems unlikely that she will do so. Remember- she told a reporter that the duo was guilty before the trial had even concluded.
Prominent members of her government have spoken out against independent media, preferring the preservation of “national image” over the truth.
Many members of the NLD have voted to keep laws that stifle freedom of expression on the books. Others in the party are even seeking to strengthen those restrictive laws.
Civil society organizations are fighting back, but not without the constant threat of imprisonment and a venomous hate mail and death threats.
And independent newsrooms – the few that are left and still dare to report the truth – are financially suffering, teetering on the brink of closure every month as local advertisers pull ads from publications that use the word “Rohingya” or report on issue they deem as “trying to damage national image.” Salaries are being cut; newsrooms are shutting down. With the current economic downturn that Myanmar is facing (and the projection that things will only get worse) newsrooms will continue to suffer and close.
Journalism can and does cause change- I’ve seen it firsthand, as have Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo- lest we forget that their story about the massacre at Inn Dinn was a major contributing factor to the Burmese military actually acknowledging the murders of ten Rohingya men.
But independent journalism needs your help. And it needs it now more than ever.
I implore you to consider subscribing or contributing to some of the fair and independent media in Myanmar and the region. Frontier Myanmar (please excuse my clear personal bias), New Naratif, and Mekong Review all have people tirelessly working to publish the truth about what’s happening in Myanmar and Southeast Asia- but they won’t survive without your support.
The regular format of this newsletter will continue next week, but for now...
Free Wa Lone
Free Kyaw Soe Oo.
Free all political prisoners.

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If you're craving more material I strongly suggest signing up for the EBO Myanmar, CDNH, Frontier Myanmar and ND-Burma newsletters.
Have a great weekend.

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This newsletter was made by Victoria Milko,
a multimedia journalist based in Myanmar.
She would love to hear from you.

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Victoria Milko · Mingalar Taungyunt · Rangoon 11181 · Myanmar

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