Ten Journalists Being Held by Myanmar’s Regime for Protest Coverage

By The Irrawaddy 1 March 2021

Yangon – At least 25 journalists have been detained during the police crackdown against the anti-regime demonstrations across Myanmar between Feb. 14 to March 1 with 10 journalists are still in detention.

They were covering anti-coup demonstrations in Yangon, Myitkyina, Monywa, Hakha, Magwe, Pathein, Pyay, Mawlamyine and other cities.

Twelve were released without facing charges and two were released on bail after being charged under Article 505(a) of the Penal Code carrying up to two years’ imprisonment after trying to get a comment from the security forces for a balanced story.

The other 10 journalists were being held without facing any charges on Monday.

The authorities have deliberately attacked media representatives with batons and slingshots during recent crackdowns.

On Monday, two reporters from the Monywa Gazette in Sagaing Region and the Chinland Post in Hakha, Chin State, were detained by the security forces.

The Gazette reporter was later released by the police.

On Sunday, the security forces arrested five journalists covering crackdowns in Yangon, Pathein, Myitkyina and Mawlamyine, according to their families and employers.

Of the five, a detained reporter from 74 Media in Myitkyina, Kachin State, was released on Sunday.

Ko Sharr Latt, the elder brother of detained freelance photojournalist Shin Moe Myint, 23, told The Irrawaddy that her whereabouts were unknown.

The photographer was arrested near Myaynigone junction in Sanchaung Township, Yangon, on Sunday morning while covering an anti-regime demonstration.

Ko Sharr Latt said the family had asked for her at Insein Prison.

On Saturday, the security forces arrested eight journalists, including a reporter from the international Associated Press. Three of the journalists from Magwe and Sagaing regions and Chin State were later released without facing charges.

Myanmar Now’s reporter Ma Kay Zon Nway was arrested near Myaynigone junction on Saturday morning while she was live-streaming the demonstration.

She and the other four journalists have reportedly been detained in Insein since Saturday.

Ko Ahr Mahn, 7Day News chief editor, told The Irrawaddy on Monday that detaining journalists who were legally covering news events is unacceptable.

A 7Day journalist has been detained since Feb. 27. He was covering an anti-regime demonstration on Insein Road near Hledan junction.

“Journalists are now deliberately being arrested. This is unacceptable. Journalists are just performing their duties, not protesting,” said Ko Ahr Mahn. “Providing accurate information on the ground is not a crime.”

By Monday, about 1,132 people, including leaders and lawmakers from the National League for Democracy, political activists, artists, monks, writers, protesters, journalists and government staff involved in the civil disobedience movement, have been detained or face arrest warrants, according to the Assistance Association of Political Prisoners.

An estimated 833 people are still in detention or face arrest warrants.

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