Singapore Seized Computers & Myanmar Military

South & East Asian News Roundup 22/11/2018

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We come back to a few parallel stories as a result of larger continuing stories from the past few weeks. With the continued atrocities that have been perpetrated by the Myanmar, we take a look at a Reuters Journalist who will be serving a seven-year sentence for exposing the Myanmar military. A new development in the China-USA relationship saw an interesting turn when a US aircraft carrier was spotted in the Hong Kong dock. In Singapore, an independent news organization had their computers seized in a “criminal defamation investigation” reportedly as a result of the organization’s criticism of news reporters meeting with government ministers. All this and more in this weeks roundup.

Reuters Journalist Jailed For Exposing Myanmar Military Atrocities

In the wake of the atrocities committed by the Myanmar military of arson, genocide, and rape against many innocent of the Rohingya Muslims, reporters have been jailed as a result of their efforts to expose these actions. Reuters journalist Wa Lone was sentenced last December to seven years in jail, after exposing a massacre that took place in the village of Inn Din. The charges were presented as a breach of the “Official Secrets Act”, a rarely enforced law from colonial times. Pan Ei Mon, Wa Lone’s wife had just given birth to their daughter last August is now struggling to raise a newborn as well as continue to fight and defend her husband in the media. The next move for Wa Lone’s release at this time is an appeal submitted to the courts and a hope for a presidential pardon as this story has gained attention not only in Myanmar but also internationally.

US Aircraft Carrier Granted Docking In Hong Kong

The US-China relationship took an interesting turn this week as US aircraft carriers were given permission to dock in Hong Kong. The USS Ronald Reagan, USS Chancellorsville, USS Benfold, and the USS Curtis Wilbur were all granted to dock according to the Hong Kong Maritime Department. This turn came after a two month period where no US military ships were allowed to dock at any Chinese ports. This is also quite a change as it shows a shift in tensions following the encounter two months ago where the USS Decatur came within 45 yards of a Chinese destroyer in the South China Sea near some Chinese claimed island territories. The four ships totaled in 7000 military personnel who were all involved in a week-long exercise in the area.

Singapore Independent News Organization Computers Seized

In Singapore, an independent news organization “The Online Citizen” had their computers seized resulting in their site to take an indefinite “hiatus”. The entirety of their desktop, laptop, and mobile devices were seized by the police for an investigation on allegations of “criminal defamation”. The Online Citizen is an alternative news website for Singaporeans who are looking for a voice outside mainstream news, proudly followed by 100,000 people on Facebook. The Online Citizen believes that following a post examining a Singaporean lawmaker where they were criticizing several reporters meeting with the Prime Minister of Singapore. TOC had made the accusation that corruption is taking place at the highest levels of Singaporean government and that the constitution is being tampered with. Human rights groups have already spoken on the matter, calling it a “constriction of freedom of expression”. This brings attention to Singapore’s low ranking in the “Reporters Without Borders” for press freedoms, being at 151 out of 180 countries listed.

 

The Myanmar stories are going to further unravel and come out as time goes on while the US-China tensions will hopefully come to some resolutions in moving towards lower instability. The Singapore Government’s “investigation” had just started so we will keep up with seeing where that takes them while facing international criticism of their actions towards TOC.

You can read more from Amos Joseph on Think Liberty here.

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