UN: Myanmar waging ‘campaign against journalists’

Reuters journalist Kyaw Soe Oo, center, is escorted by polices upon arrival at the court Monday, Sept. 3, 2018, in Yangon, Myanmar. (AP/Thein Zaw)
Updated 11 September 2018
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UN: Myanmar waging ‘campaign against journalists’

  • The rights office pointed to the “particularly outrageous” and high-profile example of the conviction of Reuters journalists Kyaw Soe Oo and Wa Lone
  • Around 700,000 of the stateless Rohingya Muslim minority were driven into Bangladesh by a Myanmar army-led crackdown

GENEVA: Myanmar, facing international outrage over the jailing of Reuters journalists for their reporting on a massacre of Rohingya Muslims, is conducting a “political campaign” against independent journalism, the UN said Tuesday.
A fresh report from the UN rights office decried “the instrumentalization of the law and of the courts by the government and military in what constitutes a political campaign against independent journalism.”
It slammed the “failure of the judiciary to uphold the fair trial rights of those targeted.”
The rights office pointed to the “particularly outrageous” and high-profile example of the conviction of Reuters journalists Kyaw Soe Oo and Wa Lone, also known as Thet Oo Maung.
Last week, a judge jailed the two — both Myanmar nationals — for seven years under a draconian state secrets act over their reporting of the Rohingya crisis.
Around 700,000 of the stateless Rohingya Muslim minority were driven into Bangladesh by a Myanmar army-led crackdown in August last year.
The UN report said there were many other examples of detentions and prosecutions of journalists and their sources, indicating “wider trends of suppression of freedom of expression.”
According to the report, laws on telecommunications, official secrets, unlawful association, electronic transactions, import-export and aircraft have been used against journalists in a number of cases.
It pointed to one case, where three journalists were arrested in June 2017 after covering a “drug burning” ceremony in connection with the International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking.
The event took place in area under the control of the Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA) in northern Shan state.
Even though the journalists were covering events unrelated to the armed conflict, they were charged under the so-called unlawful association act.
The report pointed out that the act is “routinely used to allege that any contact with an ethnic armed group is tantamount to a criminal offense.”
The report said that in Myanmar it has become “impossible for journalists to do their job without fear or favor.”
UN rights chief Michelle Bachelet warned in a statement that the situation was “hardly conducive to a democratic transition” in Myanmar.
She called on authorities in the country to “cease the legal and judicial harassment of journalists and to initiate a review of ill-defined laws that facilitate attacks on the legitimate exercise of freedom of expression.”


Arab News gets more global design recognition

Updated 21 February 2019
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Arab News gets more global design recognition

  • Arab News scooped a Merit Award in the covers and jackets category for its front page
  • The annual competition celebrates design excellence on a global scale

LONDON: Arab News has scooped another international design award.

The Middle East’s leading English-language daily newspaper was recognized in the international design awards run by “HOW” magazine for its iconic Women Drivers cover.

The annual competition celebrates design excellence on a global scale — and every year honors entries from all over the world. 

“For Arab News to be recognized on a global scale with this award is a great honor. There were over 1,100 entries from all over the world so to win a Merit Award is a brilliant achievement,” said Arab News Global Creative Director Simon Khalil.

Arab News scooped a Merit Award in the covers and jackets category for its front page which featured an image of a Saudi woman driving by “New Yorker” illustrator Malika Favre.

It was commissioned by Arab News for the cover of a special souvenir edition on June 24 of last year and has since been shared around the world.

The image, of a road reflected in a woman’s sunglasses, has become one of the most retweeted artworks celebrating women driving in the Kingdom.

“As a champion of women for years through her unique creative style, Malika Favre was the obvious choice for our cover, and her illustration brilliantly captures the significance of this moment on the day Saudi Arabia changed forever,” added Khalil.

“This award will inspire the whole team to produce even better design and content for our readers and we are very pleased the design community has recognized our efforts with this prestigious award.”

This year’s awards attracted some 1,100 entries from around the world.