As it is well known Burma’s military government exercises strict control over all public media. That’s why dissidents often use the Internet—where controls are, at least up to a certain point, less stringent—to circulate information. But this time there was no escape for Nay Phone Latt, a 28-year-old blogger, whom a court in military-ruled Myanmar sentenced to more than 20 years in jail last Monday for his Internet activities.
Nay Phone Latt, who is also a former member of detained democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi's opposition party, used his blog, written in the Burma language, as a forum to discuss the difficulties of daily life, such as the regular power outages and the rising cost of living. The blog was banned by Burma's military regime, and Nay Phone Latt was arrested in January this year during a round-up of activists linked to the massive anti-junta protests in September 2007.
The sentence, say Reporters Without Borders, consisted of two years for violating article 505 (b) of the Criminal Code (which punishes defamation of the state), three years and six months for violating article 32 (b) of the Video Act and 15 years for violating article 33 (a) of the Electronic Act.
Reporters Without Borders and the Burma Media Association say that this shocking sentence “is meant to terrify those who go online in an attempt to elude the dictatorship’s ubiquitous control of news and information.” The two organizations called for bloggers around the world to post a photo of Nay Phone Latt on their webpages and write to Burma’s embassies to press for the young man’s immediate release. Hence this post, with which I willingly accept the call and ask my few but loyal readers to spread the word … [Hat tip: Nora]