US concerned over Myanmar journalists' sentences

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Associated Press

Posted on July 11, 2014 at 11:33 AM

Updated Friday, Jul 11 at 11:35 AM

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. says it's very concerned that four reporters and a magazine chief executive in Myanmar (mee-an-MAWR') have been sentenced to 10 years of hard labor.

The sentence is for reporting about an alleged weapons factory.

The State Department says the sentence sends the "wrong message" about Myanmar's commitment to freedom of expression. A spokesman is urging Myanmar to respect the rights of all journalists.

The now-defunct Unity journal printed a story in January saying the military had seized farmland for the factory in central Myanmar and that it would produce chemical weapons. The journal printed a denial by authorities.

Rights groups have condemned Thursday's sentencing. They say intimidation and arrests of journalists appear to be worsening in the former pariah state, even as official censorship has been lifted.

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