Myanmar’s Junta Continues to Arrest Journalists

By The Irrawaddy 26 April 2021

Junta forces arrested a former cameraman of Democratic Voice of Burma (DVB) at his house in Yangon’s Pazundaung Township on Sunday evening and sent him to an interrogation center.

“When I checked with Pazundaung police station, police told me that he was sent to Shwepyitha interrogation center this morning,” said a colleague of Ko Thura Soe.

According to witnesses, some ten junta troops came to their residential neighborhood about 8:30 p.m. Sunday, firing shots in the air.

“They went straight to his house and arrested him, saying they came to check for overnight guests,” said a resident of the neighborhood. Junta forces reportedly took his computer and other items from his house.

On Saturday night, writer and media trainer Ma Tu Tu Tha and her family members were arrested at her home in Thanlynn Township in Yangon by the junta’s forces. According to local residents, soldiers and police searched her house and arrested four, including her son, brother and one of their friends.

A relative said the troops found anti-regime pamphlets in the house and confiscated phones and laptops. They were reportedly taken to a military interrogation center in Shwepyitha. Ma Tu Tu Tha was editor-in-chief of Thanlyin Post, a local weekly journal, and used to work for The Irrawaddy (Burmese Edition).

On March 8, five weeks after the Feb. 1 coup, the military regime banned five domestic media outlets including DVB Multimedia Group, 7Day News, Mizzima, Myanmar Now and Khit Thit Media.

The following day, DVB abolished its domestic branch, DVB Multimedia Group, and terminated the employment of all employees working for that branch, compensating them with two months’ salaries, said operation director U Toe Zaw Latt of the DVB.

DVB, however, remains in operation as an exile media, covering anti-regime protests nationwide.

“They are intentionally arresting journalists to silence opposition voices. We are working in accordance with media law that journalists have the right to cover for public information. We object to such arrests,” he said.

Junta forces are also confiscating PSI satellite dishes, which enable the people to access anti-regime protest news from DVB and Mizzima.

In the weeks since the coup, the military has arrested four crew members of DVB and has issued arrest warrants for five others for sedition.

Since seizing power, Myanmar’s military has detained 70 journalists. Thirty of them have been released, but 40 remain in detention.

The military junta opened cases against more than 40 journalists for sedition under Section 505 (b) of Penal Code. Half of them have been detained and the other half have gone into hiding.

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