Myanmar court agrees to speed up trial of journalists

A court in northern Myanmar has agreed to expedite the trial of three journalists charged with violating a law that provides up to three years' imprisonment for people who help illegal groups.

A lawyer for the three journalists, Maung Maung Win, said the court in Hsipaw in northern Shan state agreed to hold sessions every Friday, instead of at intervals of roughly two weeks.

The three journalists from the Democratic Voice of Burma and The Irrawaddy, both multi-format news services, were arrested June 26 after returning from a drug-burning ceremony organized by the Ta'ang National Liberation Army, an ethnic guerrilla group. Their detention has been sharply criticized as a violation of press freedom.