Reporter Killed in Sagaing Division

By Kyaw Kha 13 December 2016

RANGOON — The Monywa Central Police Station has confirmed that local reporter Ko Soe Moe Tun of Eleven Media Group (EMG) was beaten to death with a wooden stick, his body discovered early Tuesday morning.

Ko Soe Moe Tun, 36, a Monywa-based EMG journalist was found dead and with bruises at around 1 a.m. on the Union Highway in Monywa, Sagaing Division. An autopsy revealed that he died of a skull fracture resulting from being beaten, said police sub-lieutenant Soe Min Tun of the Monywa Central Police Station.

“His skull was broken. This was the main cause of death,” the police officer told The Irrawaddy.

His personal belongings, including money, a gold ring and his national ID card, were not taken.

EMG released a statement on Tuesday calling for police to find the culprit as soon as possible.

“We want to find the truth. We are taking the necessary actions [as his employer],” U Kyaw Zaw Lin, EMG editor, told The Irrawaddy.

Ko Soe Moe Tun joined EMG in January 2015 as a local reporter in Monywa. He reported on Monywa in regards to the controversial Chinese-backed Letpadaung copper mining project, illegal logging and farmland confiscation, according to U Kyaw Zaw Lin.

It is unclear if his death was related to his reporting on those issues, said U Kyaw Zaw Lin, although speculation has been raised that it could have been related to his reporting on illegal logging in the area.

“He was my friend and he was keen to find information about illegal logging. He was interested in that issue,” said Ko Thet, editor of the Monywa Gazette.

The Monywa police force has opened a murder case in connection with the reporter’s death.

The Myanmar Journalist Network (MJN) issued a statement on Dec. 13, calling on the government to put more effort into ensuring the security of its citizens and discovering the truth as soon as possible.

Ko Soe Moe Tun is survived by a wife and 8-year-old son.

Translated from Burmese by Thet Ko Ko