Myanmar military drops charges against 5 journalists

Myanmar's military has dropped criminal charges it had filed against five journalists in cases that drew international criticism for discouraging freedom of expression.

The decision to withdraw the cases involving contact with banned organizations and online defamation under a telecommunications law was announced Friday on the Facebook page of the office of military's commander in chief. The journalists work for The Voice Daily, and The Irrawaddy and Democratic Voice of Burma, two primarily online news services.

The Myanmar Press Council confirmed it has received an official letter from the military announcing the decision and expressed its gratitude.

Although the elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi that replaced a military-backed regime last year lifted most censorship rules, authorities have remained hostile to the media.