World Press Freedom Day 2019
Executive director, ATHAN
Maung Saungkha is the executive director of ATHAN, an activist organization he founded to promote the right to freedom of expression in Myanmar. He writes poetry and opinion articles for magazines and journals. As a political activist, he led a white armbands campaign to protest government crackdown on student protests in 2015. He was sentenced to six months in jail in May 2016 after he was convicted of defaming then president Thein Sein in a poem he posted on Facebook, called “Image.” This made him the first activist jailed under the controversial anti-defamation provision, Article 66(d). of the 2013 Telecommunications Act. Soon after his release from prison, he started a campaign to amend the notorious law. In December 2018, Mr. Maung Saungkha received the Human Rights Tulip Award for promoting freedom of expression in Myanmar.