Japanese video journalist Kenji Nagai was killed in 2007 while filming a crackdown on protesters in Yangon. Almost 16 years later and DVB Chief Editor Aye Chan Naing has safely retrieved and handed over the camera Kenji Nagai was using at that fatal moment to his family. “To confirm that the camera and tape are indeed the ones my brother held until the end, we will transport them back to Japan, and thoroughly analyze the data to uncover the truth about my brother’s final moments and the cause of his death. We hope to dispute the Myanmar military’s assertion that my brother’s death was an ‘accident’,” wrote Noriko Ogawa, Kenji Nagai’s sister.
“We are happy that we could contribute in a small way to ease the sorrow of Kenji Nagai’s family for their loss in a senseless killing,” said Aye Chan Naing. The camera was handed over to Noriko and Futoshi Ogawa, Kenji Nagai’s family members, at the Foreign Correspondents Club of Thailand (FCCT) in Bangkok. In attendance was Shawn Crispin, the Southeast Asia representative for the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ). “DVB should be commended for its dogged journalistic pursuit of the camera and the exceptional risks it has taken to return it to Kenji’s family. But ultimately today’s event is an important and timely reminder that Myanmar’s military has and continues to kill journalists with impunity, and that the killings won’t stop until Kenji’s murder receives full justice – from the foot soldier who pulled the trigger to any commanders who gave shoot-to-kill orders to the military leaders who orchestrated the lethal repression,” said Crispin.
Journalism is under attack in Burma once again, added Aye Chan Naing. Four journalists have been killed and 37 are currently being held by the military, which staged a coup and ousted Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy government in 2021.