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HomeNewsMyanmar now second worst jailer of journalists globally

Myanmar now second worst jailer of journalists globally

FROM THE DVB NEWSROOM

At least 176 media workers have been arrested in Myanmar since the 2021 military coup, states DVB data. A total of 15 media outlets, including DVB, have had their media licenses revoked since March 2021.  

To date, 118 journalists have been released, but more than 50 are still being held in prisons across the country. Four journalists have been killed with two murdered during military interrogation. Six female journalists are being held on various charges. Three were sentenced from two to five years in prison.

The other three women

Shin Daewe, 50, was handed a life sentence under the Counter-Terrorism Act for allegedly “funding terrorism” on Jan. 10. The documentary filmmaker, and former DVB reporter, was arrested in October 2022 at the Aung Mingalar bus station in Yangon while picking up a drone she ordered online.

“She is not a criminal but kind and always provides for the community. She was doing her work. I feel sad for her being sentenced for charges under the Counter-Terrorism Act even though she is not a terrorist,” said a family member. 

Hmu Yadanar Khat Moh Moh Tun was sentenced to a total of 13 years under both Sec. 505 (a) of the Penal Code for incitement and the Counter-Terrorism Act. The Myanmar Pressphoto Agency reporter was arrested at an anti-coup protest after a vehicle ran into her on Pan Pin Gyi road, Kyimyindaing Township, in Yangon December 2022. 

“They interrogated her without providing medical care for her broken leg which was like cracked walnuts,” said Su, a female journalist in Myanmar using a pseudonym due to security reasons. “They didn’t give her any treatment.” 

Htet Htet Khaing was sentenced to six years in prison. The BBC Media Action producer and presenter of Khan Sar Kyi program was arrested together with journalist Sithu Aung Myint at a house in Yangon’s Bahan Township in August 2021. Sithu Aung Myint received a 12 year sentence. 

She was accused of violating the Unlawful Associations Act for an alleged connection to the National Unity Government (NUG), which the military classifies as a “terrorist organization.”

“They put journalists behind bars and try to make us fear for our lives while doing our work,” added Su.

All media workers have been charged under laws amended since 2021 to give longer prison sentences to those convicted of violating the penal code’s law against incitement, and the Counter-Terrorism Act.

This week, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) ranked Myanmar the second worst jailer of journalists globally behind only China. It is now at the bottom of the 2023 World Press Freedom Index (173 out of 180 countries) by press freedom organization Reporters Without Borders (RSF).

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