Myanmar jailed reporter given 10 more years: adviser

YANGON, September 16, 2011 (AFP) - A Myanmar journalist jailed over his work for an exiled media organisation now faces 18 years in prison after a court added a decade to his sentence, his legal advisor said Friday.

Sithu Zeya was given eight years in December following his arrest for filming at the scene of deadly bombings in April 2010 during water-throwing festivities to mark the Buddhist New Year in Yangon.

The reporter for Democratic Voice of Burma (DVB), which uses the country's former name, has now received another 10 years under communication laws that campaigners say are some of the world's harshest, raising doubts over reform pledges by the regime.

"Sithu Zeya was sentenced 10 years imprisonment under the Electronic Act on Wednesday at the eastern district court," his legal advisor, Aung Thein, told AFP, adding that the reporter would appeal.

"There was no concrete evidence on his cases," he said.

Sithu Zeya was initially imprisoned for sending information to an illegal exile media group and immigration offences.

Aung Thein said the sentence was related to Sithu Zeya's work for DVB.

A civilian administration has been nominally in charge of Myanmar since March, following a controversial election last year, but its ranks are dominated by former generals.

Media watchdog Reporters Without Borders has said it is "outraged" by the "unacceptable" sentence given to Sithu Zeya and said it called into question the regime's recent efforts to improve its image.

"How can the Burmese government claim to be on the road to democracy when its judicial system flouts fundamental human rights?" said the group, which has called the Electronic Act "one of the most liberticidal laws in the world".

Sithu Zeya's father, Maung Maung Zeya, was also arrested for filming at the scene of bomb blasts in Yangon in 2010. He was jailed for 13 years earlier this year.

In May, the DVB launched an appeal for worldwide pressure to secure the release of its 17 video journalists in jail in Myanmar.