UN urges Myanmar to release detained journalists

The United Nations has called on Myanmar's military government to immediately release all journalists detained in the country.

A military court in Myanmar's biggest city Yangon sentenced US journalist Danny Fenster to 11 years in prison on Friday for allegedly spreading false information and other charges. Fenster is managing editor of the online English-language magazine Frontier Myanmar.

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet expressed strong concern about the ruling.

Bachelet said the conviction and harsh sentencing of Fenster is "emblematic of the wider plight of journalists in Myanmar who have been facing constant repression since the February 1 military coup."

The military has been monitoring and cracking down on journalists since the coup. The UN says at least 126 journalists, media officials or publishers have been detained by the military, of whom 47 remain in detention.

Bachelet said, "Myanmar has quickly reverted to an environment of information control, censorship and propaganda seen under military regimes in the past."

She went on to say, "With the crackdowns on journalists, Internet shutdowns, restrictions on free access to online and other data sources, people are being deprived of life-saving information."