Myanmar journalist jailed for covering cyclone relief protest

November 14th, 2008 - 8:38 pm ICT by IANS  

Yangon, Nov 14 (DPA) A young female journalist who attempted to cover a protest by a group of Myanmar’s Cyclone Nargis victims was sentenced to two years in prison Friday, sources confirmed.Eine Khaing Oo, 21, was arrested June 10 when she tried to cover a rare protest in front of the head office of United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Yangon by a group of Nargis-victims from South Dagon Township, a new satellite town for the poor.

Tamwe Township Court found Eine Khaing Oo undermining national security.

She had worked as a junior reporter for Eco Vision magazine for two weeks prior to her detention, media sources said.

Myanmar, which has been under military rule since 1962, is notoriously lacking in a free press.

The ruling regime was harshly criticized by the international community for impeding the inflow of aid to victims of Cyclone Nargis, which smashed into Myanmar’s Irrawaddy delta on May 2-3, leaving about 140,000 dead or missing.

The junta was reluctant to allow a massive inflow of foreign aid workers to the cyclone devastated region because of its long-held dread of outsiders and its cynical goal to push through a national referendum on a pro-military constitution that happened to be scheduled for mid-May.

Authorities refused to postpone the referendum, despite suffering the worst natural catastrophe in recent history.

On Friday, the Tamwe Township Court also sentenced Kyaw Kyaw Thant, the leader of the cyclone protest, to seven years in jail, and Win Myint, who had posted a letter complaining of the junta’s poor relief efforts, to two years in jail, lawyers said.

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