ARTICLE 19, MJA, MJU and MJN welcome the opportunity to contribute to the second cycle of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of Myanmar. This submission focuses on Myanmar’s compliance with its international human rights obligations to protect and promote the right to freedom of the media, including freedom of expression and information.
Since Myanmar’s first review and in particular since the creation of a new government in 2012, restrictions on the right to freedom of expression and media freedom have lessened, in some aspects, particularly in major urban areas. Indicators of a limited increase in the promotion of media freedoms include the establishment of several associations representing media workers, the creation of a Press Council, and an increasingly permissive environment for media workers to demand their rights.
Despite these steps, Myanmar has failed to show significant progress on the limited commitments it made to reform during its first UPR, in particular around protections for freedom of expression, including media freedom.
The issues of concern we address in this submission include:
- Failure to ratify major international human rights treaties or to invite UN special procedures
- Failure to engage in necessary legislative reforms to guarantee the right to freedom of the media, including freedom of expression and information
- A spate of arrests and prosecutions of journalists, with significantly harsh punishments creating a noticeable chilling effect on journalists and media workers
- Government ownership as a practical tool of controlling the media
- A lack of transparency or meaningful public participation in the legislative process, resulting in serious weaknesses in draft laws and delays in their adoption.
You can read the full submission here.