Reporters Without Borders today finally had the pleasure of presenting Burmese blogger, comedian and actor Zarganar with the press freedom prize in the “Cyber-dissident” category that it awarded to him in December 2008, when he was in prison.
Arrested on 4 June 2008 after talking to the BBC World Service and other foreign news media about the then military government’s mismanagement of relief operations after Cyclone Nargis and its guilty silence on the subject, Zarganar ended up being sentenced to 35 years in prison under the Electronics Act.
He was awarded the Reporters Without Borders prize in December 2008 jointly with fellow blogger Nay Phone Latt, who was also in prison at the time. Zarganar was finally released on 12 October 2011 under an amnesty for political prisoners. Nay Phone Latt was freed under a second amnesty in January.
Zarganar arrived Monday on a three-day visit to Paris to meet the organizations that supported him during his prison years. He met yesterday with several organizations including Reporters Without Borders at the “Maison des Associations” in Paris’s 3rd arrondissement.
This morning, he came to Reporters Without Borders headquarters, where he received the prize and thanked Reporters Without Borders, on behalf of himself and Nay Phone Latt, for its support for freedom of information in Burma. Zarganar also gave interviews to several news media including RFI, Paris Match, Le Monde and La Chronique.
November 2008: Zarganar gets additional sentence
January 2010: Zarganar’s sister-in-law interviewed as he turns 49 in jail
October 2011: Zarganar freed
October 2011: Zarganar interviewed after his release