Protest for Release of ‘Jailed’ Journalists in Burma
09 September 2011: More than 100 people today joined a demonstration led by Burma Campaign UK in front of the Burmese Embassy in London, UK, demanding the immediate release of journalists and reporters imprisoned in Burma.
The demonstration organised as part of a global protest by the Democratic Voice of Burma for the release of Ms Hla Hla Win and other political prisoners detained emerged as another blow to Burma’s new government on the international stage.
In a statement, Géraldine May, Free Burma VJ campaign coordinator, said: “We can’t let the regime ruin Hla Hla Win’s life for interviewing a monk and working for DVB. That’s why the Free Burma VJ campaign has organised this protest. We call on the Burmese government to release our 17 VJs serving unfair, lengthy prison sentences.”
Among a group of protesters in today’s demonstration, 17 people wearing the mask of video-journalist Hla Hla Win, who is serving a 27-year jail sentence in Burma, stood out prominently as an evidence to injustice committed in Burma by the ruling authorities.
Aye Chan Naing, DVB Executive Director and Chief Editor, said: “There is no legal justification to arrest Hla Hla Win and she should not have been arrested in the first place or spent a single day in jail. We ask the Burmese government to let her free immediately.”
Key speakers at London’s rally today included Mark Farmaner, Director of Burma Campaign UK; Mr. Aung Gyi, former political prisoner and DVB VJ; Ms. Zin Mon from Burma Campaign UK; Chin activist Mr. Shwekey Hoipang; Mr. Chris Ring Du Lachung of Kachin Community UK; and Mi Khin Phone from Mon Community UK.
Ms Hla Hla Win, now 27, was first arrested in September 2009 while returning from conducting interviews with Buddhist monks in Pakokku township, Magwe Division just after the anniversary of the 2007 monk-led uprising.
Aung Gyi, Burma VJ and Senior Advisor at Burma Campaign UK said: “Thein Sein is saying that Burma is moving towards democracy. I would like to demand the Burmese President and government release all political prisoners including Hla Hla Win and other journalists if they want to prove they are changing.”
In Burma, there are a total of 1995 political prisoners including monks, MPs, students, women, ethnic nationalities, teachers, activists, humanitarian volunteers, NLD members, doctors, media, labour, human rights and individual activists, and lawyers, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (Burma).
Van Biak Thang