A Myanmar court has charged a journalist who published an interview with the Arakan Army rebel group under a terrorism law, while his website and others reporting on the conflict in the troubled western Rakhine state were blocked, Reuters News Agency reported on Wednesday.
The court in the second-largest city, Mandalay, charged Nay Myo Lin, the editor-in-chief of Voice of Myanmar, under sections of the Terrorism Act on Tuesday after he conducted a March 27 interview with the Arakan Army in which it responded to Myanmar’s decision to label it as a terrorist group.
Nay Myo Lin’s lawyer, Thein Than Oo, confirmed the charges, which can carry a life sentence, but told Reuters he did not have any more details.
The journalist’s wife, Zarni Mann, also confirmed to Reuters that her husband had been charged.
After the hearing on Tuesday, Nay Myo Lin was quoted by Radio Free Asia as saying: “If the members of the Myanmar Press Council (MPC) review the report and find any violations of media ethics, they can give me any kind of punishment they like.”
The MPC is the body that investigates and settles press disputes in Myanmar.
Myanmar last week declared the Arakan Army a terrorist group after more than a year of intense fighting against the organisation, which recruits from the mostly Buddhist ethnic Rakhine majority and seeks greater autonomy for the region.
The Myanmar Times quoted Judge Kyaw Swa Lin as saying Nay Myo Lin had been arrested over last week’s interview.