Aussie journalist held in Myanmar

2011-02-24 19:10

Yangon - An Australian journalist who co-founded a newspaper in Myanmar was ordered to remain behind bars on Thursday on immigration charges after being arrested two weeks ago.

Ross Dunkley, 55, editor in chief of the Myanmar Times weekly, was ordered to reappear in a Yangon court March 3, said an employee of the newspaper, which publishes English and Burmese editions.

Dunkley was arrested February 10 as he was returning to Myanmar from a business trip to Japan. Dunkley's business partner David Armstrong said at that time that he believed the arrest stemmed from a dispute with a Myanmar business partner with close links to the military regime.

Dunkley appeared on Thursday in court in the Kamayut township of Yangon and appeared to be in good health, the Myanmar Times employee said.

The Committee to Protect Journalists called on the military government to clarify why it was holding Dunkley, charging that his arrest ran counter to the junta's professed path toward democracy.

Myanmar held its first general elections in 20 years in November, but pro-military candidates overwhelmingly won after election regulations heavily favoured them.

The Myanmar Times was founded in 2000 and is the only media outlet in Myanmar with foreign investment. Like all other media there, it is subject to government censorship, and Dunkley told the Committee to Protect Journalists in 2008 that about 20% of the stories he submits for publication are censored.

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