Myanmar’s military regime has arrested two more journalists in southern Myanmar, raising the number of reporters being held by the junta to at least 46 as of Tuesday.
Myanmar has become the world’s second-biggest jailer of journalists after China since last year’s February 1 coup.
Reporter Ko Zaw, reporter Ma Moe Myint and designer Ko Thar Gyi from Dawei Watch, an online news outlet based in Dawei, the capital of Tanintharyi Region, were detained at their homes at midnight on Tuesday.
Dawei Watch covers news mainly from southern Myanmar. Since the coup, the role of local news outlets has been crucial in exposing and documenting junta violence and atrocities against civilians.
A representative from Dawei Watch told The Irrawaddy that they don’t yet know where their staff were taken or why they were arrested.
The junta has targeted journalists with arrests, lawsuits, raids on newsrooms and violence in an effort to silence independent coverage of its daily atrocities. Over 110 journalists and media workers have been detained at various times since the coup. In some cases, relatives of journalists have been held as hostages to force the reporters to turn themselves in.
Three journalists have been killed by the junta since the beginning of December alone.
Freelance photographer Soe Naing was the first to die at the hands of the regime. He was killed on December 14, after being arrested while covering a silent strike protest in Yangon.
Federal News Journal editor Sai Win Aung was killed on December 25 in a junta artillery attack, while covering fighting between the Myanmar military and People’s Defense Forces in Karen State.
Pu Tuidim, founder and editor of the Chin State-based Khonumthung Media Group, was killed by regime forces after being abducted. His body was found on January 9.
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