Myanmar’s Military Regime Arrests Four Media Staff in Shan State
By The Irrawaddy 25 March 2021
Four staff from the Shan State-based ethnic media Kanbawza Tai News have been detained by the security forces after a night raid on Wednesday. The detainees include two journalists, the publisher and a security guard.
Regime forces raided the sub-office of the media outlet in the Shan State capital Taunggyi’s Hopong Township on March 24, as well as two other houses where Kanbawza Tai News staff live. They detained the female editor-in-charge Nann Nann Tai, 28, female news reporter Nann Win Yi, 21, publisher U Tin Aung Kyaw and security guard Ko Sai Sithu, who was released on Thursday evening.
Media outlets covering the security forces’ lethal crackdowns on anti-regime protests have been accused by the junta of inciting people to continue their demonstrations against the military’s Feb.1 coup.
Ko Zay Tai, editor-in-chief of Kanbawza Tai News, told The Irrawaddy on Thursday that their outlet has been targeted despite the military regime not issuing any warnings or bringing lawsuits against them.
He said that he did not know the whereabouts of the detained staff.
The security forces had previously attempted to arrest Ko Zay Tai in a failed mid-March house raid. “I believe that the raids are aimed at destroying the media” Ko Zay Tai said.
“All journalists are just performing their duties, not committing crimes. I believe that those who are thinking of journalists as criminals are the real criminals,” he added.
Several journalists from other ethnic media outlets in Shan State and Kachin State are in hiding because the police are searching for them.
As of Thursday, 23 out of a total of 48 journalists arrested for reporting on anti-coup protests and the security forces’ use of deadly force in crackdowns remain in detention.
In addition, 11 journalists have been charged under Article 505(a) of the Penal Code, which carries a potential prison sentence of up to three years.
The junta has also revoked the publishing licenses of five media outlets – 7Day News, Myanmar Now, Mizzima, DVB and Khit Thit Media – without giving a reason. But, apart from 7Day News, all are defying the military regime by continuing to publish news daily.
The Irrawaddy has also been sued under Article 505(a) of the penal code.
As of Wednesday, around 2,906 people including elected leaders, election commissioners, National League for Democracy members, anti-regime protesters, activists, writers, journalists, artists and civilians have been arrested by the junta.
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