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Myanmar Journalists Take Fight for Freedom of Speech to Court

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YANGON (Reuters) - More than 100 reporters in Myanmar are preparing to protest against laws seen as curbing free speech when two senior journalists go on trial on Thursday, after the military sued them for defamation over a satirical article in their journal.
The rare campaign, in which journalists will wear armbands reading "Freedom of the Press", underscores growing public unease at the laws, after the courts recently took up a raft of similar cases.
Despite pressure from human rights bodies and Western diplomats, the government of Aung San Suu Kyi has retained a broadly worded law that prohibits use of the telecoms network to "extort, threaten, obstruct, defame, disturb, inappropriately influence or intimidate".
The law was adopted by the semi-civilian administration of former generals led by former president Thein Sein which navigated Myanmar's opening to the outside world from 2011 to 2016.
Arrests of social media users whose posts are deemed distasteful have continued under the administration of Nobel Peace Prize winner Suu Kyi.
These include the case that sparked the protest, after the chief editor and a columnist of the Voice, one of Myanmar's largest dailies, were arrested for publishing their take on a film on the army's fight with ethnic rebels.

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