EU urges release of jailed journalists in Myanmar

In this combination image made from two photos, Reuters journalists Kyaw Soe Oo, left, and Wa Lone, are handcuffed as they are escorted by police out of the court Monday, Sept. 3, 2018, in Yangon, Myanmar. (AP)
Updated 13 September 2018
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EU urges release of jailed journalists in Myanmar

BRUSSELS: European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini is urging Myanmar’s authorities to free two journalists jailed on charges of possessing state secrets in connection with their reporting about massacres against Rohingya Muslims.
Mogherini demanded Thursday that “the prison sentences be reviewed and the two journalists be released immediately and unconditionally.”
Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo from the Reuters news agency were jailed last week for seven years after proceedings widely decried as unfair. They had reported on the army’s brutal counter-insurgency campaign that drove 700,000 Rohingya to flee to Bangladesh.
Mogherini said their reporting matched testimony that she had heard from Rohingya in Bangladesh.
She said observers saw this trial as a test for Myanmar democracy and that “it is pretty clear that the test has failed.”


Egypt reported to have 4-6m fake news pages

An Egyptian carries a load of newspapers in Cairo, Egypt, in this file photo taken on Dec. 1, 2014. (AP)
Updated 16 June 2019
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Egypt reported to have 4-6m fake news pages

  • ‘The fake accounts ... are usually not owned by Egyptians, but by foreigners’

CAIRO: Egypt is reported to have 4 to 6 million fake news pages on social media accounts, according to Ali Hosni, undersecretary at of the General Directorate of Information and Relations at the Egyptian Interior Ministry.
The fake accounts, made to spread false information, are usually not owned by Egyptians, but by foreigners, he added.
Egypt has faced a flood of false rumors on an almost weekly basis, with claims such as that a newly appointed minister was in fact dead, or that of a girl kidnapped in the Beheira, who turned out to have runaway to avoid taking her exams.
According to a recent global survey, 86 percent of internet users have admitted that they have fallen for fake news online. The survey also showed that Egyptians were the most gullible in terms of fake news.

Prohibitory step
The government passed a law prohibiting fake news in an attempt to control the problem. The law, passed in July 2018, states that social media accounts with over 5,000 followers will be treated as media outlets, and their owners could be subjected to fines or prison for spreading fake news.
Responses to the law were skeptical, as people wondered what defined fake news, while others found the law to be vague. With the global survey’s results, it can be presumed that the 2018 fake news law did not have too much of an impact.
There have been multiple reports of social media accounts masquerading as officials and in Egypt turning out to be fake. One, the page for Education Minister Mahmoud Abo Nasr, had 80,000 Facebook followers on it — his genuine official page had only 55,000 followers.