US, UK Embassies Urge Govt Inquiry Into Journalist’s Killing

Myanmar Media

Demonstrators carry signs bearing slogans and pictures of Aung Kyaw Naing, a journalist who went missing in Mon State last month and was reportedly killed by the Burma Army. (Photo: JPaing / The Irrawaddy)

RANGOON — The embassies of the United States and Britain have called on the Burmese government to launch a transparent investigation into the recent killing of a local journalist by the Burma Army.

The US Embassy said in a statement that it is “deeply concerned and saddened” by the reports of the death of journalist Aung Kaw Naing, also known as Par Gyi, while in custody of the Burma Army in early October.

“We have raised serious concern with the government on the matter,” the embassy said. “We call on the government to conduct a credible and transparent investigation into the circumstances surrounding his death, and to hold the perpetrators accountable.”

The statement added that the recent killing signaled the need for better protection for journalists exercising press freedom in Burma.

The British Embassy told The Irrawaddy in a comment, “We are concerned by the circumstances of his death, and think that a full investigation would help re-assure people about what happened.”

Unesco’s office in Burma, which has programs to supporting media organizations in the country, did not immediately reply to a request for comment.

Last Friday, the Interim Myanmar Press Council said it received a letter from the military stating that the journalist had been arrested by soldiers in Mon State on Sept. 30, interrogated and later killed. The letter claimed Aung Kaw Naing belonged to a Karen rebel group and that he had been shot when he tried to seize a weapon from a soldier.

Than Dar, the wife of Aung Kyaw Naing, has said he had been reporting on an outbreak of clashes between the Democratic Karen Benevolent Army (DKBA) and the military in southeastern Burma. She denied that he belonged to the DKBA, as did a representative of the armed group.

Aung Kyaw Naing was a rights activist and a body guard of opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi for many years before becoming a freelance reporter contributing to several Rangoon-based news publications.

In recent days, several international human rights groups and media freedom organizations have condemned the murder and called for a full investigation.

Senior government officials have, however, been silent about the killing. The Irrawaddy has repeatedly tried to contact Minister of Information Ye Htut since news of the murder emerged, but emails and phone calls to the minister have gone unanswered.

Myanmar Press Council members contacted on Wednesday declined to answer questions on behalf of the council on whether the government was taking appropriate steps to deal with the killing. They referred back to a council statement from Sunday, which merely said the slain journalist “is a citizen of Myanmar and the Myanmar Press Council believes that he deserves the same rights as any citizen.”

Pho Thauk Kya, a veteran local journalist, said there was a need for the government to soon announce that it would conduct a transparent investigation.

“I want to tell my government that they need to take action immediately,” he said. “The responsible person, responsible government official for this case should speak out.”

2 Responses to US, UK Embassies Urge Govt Inquiry Into Journalist’s Killing

  1. Stupid enough. Its 100% sure that the journalist was killed by Myanmar army. Demanding inquiry from the military regime is absolutely nonsense. This regime is 100% relic of the former military dictatorship. The only diffierence is some of its members are now in different costumes. USDP and SPDC are the same.

  2. Well, the non-lethal training given by US and EU to Burmese military about how to react with ordinary citizens looks quite successful in my opinion. Many journalists are already behind prisons wall, many ordinary farmers lost their farm land. Poor class of Burma life are getting worse day by day. Political landscape is going down south. More war on the ground than peace which all of the ordinary Burmese citizens want. Some how I knew that all of those things happen for a reason “The 2015 ELECTION”. If you want to derail just election, what would you do? If country is destabilize, arm institution will always take over the country under gun point. To destabilize the country, the government will piss people off with the worse case they can present. I thing Ko Par Gyi was the victim of the government scheme. I may be wrong, but look at the increase fighting between Ethnic groups in Karen state, Shan state and Kachin state. It is stink, all of those happen in short time, yet Thein Sein shamelessly asking EU to drop human rights scrutiny toward his government. Son of a bitch doesn’t have any shame about what is going on in Burma, yet I heard, some of western power are ready to back Thein Sein and his gun blazing criminals. I am very worry for common Burmese citizens.

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