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Case dropped against Myanmar journalists facing incitement charges

AFP  |  Yangon 

The case against three journalists who reported critically on the financial management of has been withdrawn, their told AFP Friday, in rare good for the country's beleaguered press.

Eleven Media's editors and and were arrested in October but allowed out on bail after a few weeks in detention.

They were accused of after an article raised questions about budgeting within the city government, which is run by Phyo Min Thein, a close confidante of civilian leader Aung San

Article 505 (b) criminalises published or circulated information that causes "fear or alarm to the public".

The case prompted an outcry amid fears of declining press freedom in Suu Kyi's and was lodged weeks after reporters and were sentenced to seven years on state secrets charges while reporting on a massacre of Rohingya Muslims.

But the for Eleven Media's staff said the government had sent a letter to the court asking to drop the charges and take up their grievance through arbitration at Myanmar's

"The allowed them to withdraw and gave a verdict (Friday) right away.

So the case is finished," told AFP.

In an interview on Thursday, however, Phyo told the city government would seek a correction through the council, and could resume the legal tack if it was not satisfied with the outcome.

"If they do not follow and if negotiation by the is not a success, we will continue this case legally," he said.

Cases against journalists in have further tarnished the reputation of one-time rights icon Suu Kyi, whose legacy fell apart during the Rohingya crisis.

has said little in defence of the journalists, who will have spent a year in prison next month. They are appealing.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Fri, November 09 2018. 16:15 IST