Myanmar retains tough clause in communications law

Reporters protest as they call on the Myanmar government and military authorities to release reporters who were arrested in Yangon, Myanmar June 30, 2017. (Reuters file photo)

YANGON -- Myanmar's parliament on Friday made minor changes to a controversial telecommunications law, amendments rights monitors say will do little to address concern the law is used to curb criticism of the authorities and reporting of corruption.

The recent arrest of several journalists has raised fears that free speech is under pressure in Myanmar, even under a government led by Aung San Suu Kyi, who led efforts to end decades of military rule and won a landmark election in 2015.

Under the amendments approved on Friday, judges can release on bail those charged under the law. Also, only people directly affected by an alleged offence, or those with the permission of an affected person, can press charges under the law, first introduced in 2013.

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