U.S., partners urge Burma’s military to release journalists

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By Leigh Hartman

The United States and dozens of other countries are calling on Burma's military to release all those unjustly detained, including imprisoned journalists, and end its violence against the Burmese people.

"We are appalled by the escalating violence in Myanmar and the killing of demonstrators, arbitrary arrests and violence, including against journalists and media workers," the U.N. Group of Friends for the Protection of Journalists said in an April 1 joint statement. "We join the call for an immediate release of all those detained arbitrarily."

Since taking power in a February 1 coup, Burma's military has cracked down on pro-democracy protesters and others, killing more than 500 people and detaining more than 2,000 others, including journalists and media workers.

The United States joined more than 75 countries and the European Union in the statement, including the U.N. representatives from France, Greece and Lithuania, who chair the Group of Friends, founded in 2016.

The Group of Friends calls out the military's abuse of journalists, human rights defenders and others, as well as its use of internet shutdowns to block information and limit protesters' ability to organize.

"Journalists must be free to report on the developments in the country, including the protests, without fear of reprisal or intimidation," the group says. "Independent reporting is all the more important" to counter disinformation and provide facts on events in the country.

In February, U.S. Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken, joined counterparts from Group of Seven (G7) members and the European Union to call for a return to democracy in Burma and an end to military violence against peaceful protesters.

The United States and its international partners have sanctioned Burmese military officials responsible for the violence and companies that support them.

Source: theheraldghana.com