Myanmar jails media owner, publisher, 3 journalists for report alleged to alarm public

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YANGON, Myanmar — A Myanmar court sentenced a media owner, publisher and three journalists to two years in prison Thursday in the latest ruling to raise concerns about press freedoms in the country emerging from military rule.

The July 7 article in the privately-run Bi Mon Te journal reported about an activist group that claimed opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi and ethnic political leaders had formed an interim government.

The Pabaedan township court found two editors, one reporter and the journal's publisher and owner guilty of violating Article 505 (B) of the criminal law, which prohibits publishing statements that could cause public alarm.

The journal was suspended since the five were indicted.

Under a half-century of dictatorship, Myanmar regularly banned dissent and imprisoned journalists and other critics of the ruling junta. Despite dramatic changes since 2011, when a new nominally civilian government came to power, journalists are increasingly being arrested and imprisoned, some with sentences of up to 10 years in prison with hard labor.

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