Bangkok, September 27, 2022 – Myanmar authorities must immediately and unconditionally release journalist Htet Htet Khine and stop jailing journalists for their work, the Committee to Protect Journalists said Tuesday.
On September 27, Htet Htet Khine, a freelance BBC Media Action reporter, was sentenced to three years in prison with hard labor, according to a statement by BBC Media Action, which did not specify the charge she was convicted under.
On September 15, Htet Htet Khine received her first three-year prison sentence with hard labor for allegedly violating Section 505(a) of the penal code, which criminalizes incitement and the dissemination of false news, as CPJ documented.
According to a report by the AP, Htet Htet Khine was also facing charges under the Unlawful Association Act for allegedly contacting “illegal organizations,” which carries a maximum penalty of three years imprisonment.
“Myanmar’s junta must reverse this outrageous verdict against journalist Htet Htet Khine and set her free immediately and unconditionally,” said Shawn Crispin, CPJ’s senior Southeast Asia representative. “The military regime must stop treating journalists like criminals for merely doing their jobs.”
The journalist, who has been detained since August 15, 2021, received a reduction in her sentence for time served and therefore faces five years of hard labor, according to the outlet’s statement, which said it remains “concerned for her safety and well-being in detention.”
Htet Htet Khine was moved after her September 15 trial to Insein prison in the city of Yangon, news reports said. Myanmar’s Ministry of Information did not immediately reply to CPJ’s emailed request for comment.
Myanmar was the world’s second-worst jailer of journalists as of December 1, 2021, according to CPJ’s annual prison census.