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.”


Bloomberg, SRMG unveil branding for Arabic news service

Updated 17 September 2018
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Bloomberg, SRMG unveil branding for Arabic news service

  • The UAE-headquartered business platform will include a 24-hour television and radio network
  • Bloomberg Asharq will provide analysis on the companies, markets, economies, and social and political developments shaping the Middle East.

DUBAI: The Saudi Research and Marketing Group (SRMG) and Bloomberg revealed on Sunday the branding for a multi-platform Arabic-language business and financial news service, which will be headquartered in the UAE.

The platform has been renamed Bloomberg Asharq, the two parties said in a statement. It follows an agreement signed in September 2017 to launch a 24-hour television and radio network and digital platform, Bloomberg Businessweek magazine in Arabic and a conference and live events series. 

The platform was previously known as Bloomberg Al Arabiya.

The Bloomberg Asharq brand identity was unveiled by Peter Grauer, chairman of Bloomberg LP, and Dr. Ghassan Al-Shibl, chairman of SRMG, during a meeting in Dubai. 

Bloomberg Asharq will be headquartered in the UAE, with the main operation based in the Dubai International Financial Center (DIFC). 

It will also have a “major presence” in Abu Dhabi, Riyadh and Cairo, with studios in each city, along with a presence and coverage from across key regional and global capitals, according to the statement. 

The Bloomberg Asharq team will be managed by SRMG, which also runs publications including the Arabic daily Asharq Al-Awsat, Arab News, Aleqtisadiah and others.

It will be supported by Bloomberg’s extensive financial and economic content and market data, as well as news from its 2,700 journalists and analysts globally.

The platforms will provide analysis on the companies, markets, economies, and social and political developments shaping the Middle East. 

“With headquarters in the UAE, and a presence in Riyadh, Abu Dhabi, Cairo and many other regional capitals, Bloomberg Asharq will deliver coverage from all the major business and financial centers in the Middle East,” said Dr. Ghassan Al-Shibl, chairman of SRMG.

“This partnership will elevate news in the region to new levels, and will allow us to provide Arabic-speaking audiences in the region and beyond with the most up-to-date and relevant news as they make key investment decisions, and as the region continues its economic diversification. We are proud to use ‘Asharq’ (orient) in the name of this platform, to reflect the interest in the rapidly growing region.”

Justin B. Smith, CEO of Bloomberg Media Group, added: “This is an exciting new development as we move forward in our partnership with SRMG, as this multi-platform agreement is the most ambitious of its kind.

“It is partnerships like these that allow us to strengthen our presence in key growth markets, and this expansion across the Middle East is the latest development as part of our strategy to invent our way forward to become the most modern global media company.”