The Myanmar Army has reportedly filed a criminal defamation against Reuters news agency and a local lawmaker over a report on the death of two Rohingya Muslim women.
The development came weeks after the military objected to a news story published about the death of two Rohingya Muslim women as a result of shelling in Rakhine state.
The Burmese army said its artillery fire had not killed the women or caused other civilian injuries and blamed insurgents of the Arakan Army (AA), who are fighting for greater autonomy in Rakhine state.
Police Lieutenant Kyaw Thu, the acting station head in Buthidaung township, in the north of Rakhine state, said the Reuters and the lawmaker, Maung Kyaw Zan, have been sued under section 66D of the Telecommunications Act.
Earlier, two Reuters reporters were spent more than 18 months behind bars, accused of breaking the official secrets act in a case that sparked an outcry from diplomats and human rights advocates.
The Committee to Protect Journalists on Tuesday said the Myanmar army should drop its criminal defamation complaint against the Reuters news agency and should stop using legal threats to intimidate the press.
“Myanmar’s army should drop its wrongheaded criminal defamation complaint against Reuters, and cease and desist from using legal threats to intimidate the media,” said Shawn Crispin, CPJ’s senior Southeast Asia representative.
“If Myanmar authorities were genuinely committed to accurate reporting on Rakhine state, they would allow journalists to travel there and do their jobs, and not threaten them with jail time,” he said.