Two Myanmar journalists working for the BBC and Mizzima News were arrested by the military regime Mar.19, raising the number of detained reporters to 18 as of Mar.19.
Ko Aung Thura, a local correspondent for the BBC, and Ko Than Htike Aung from Mizzima News were taken away by plainclothes police in Naypyitaw, Myanmar’s capital, on Friday.
The men were arrested in front of the Dekkhinathiri District Court while covering the court hearing of detained NLD patron U Win Htein.
A lawyer present at the scene said that they were forcibly led away after being instructed to accompany police for questioning.
Since the military’s Feb.1 coup, a total of 40 journalists have been arrested by the junta, according to Detained Journalists Information Myanmar, a Facebook page set up by local journalists to record the arrests of their fellow reporters. So far, 22 of the 40 detainees had been released as of Mar.19.
However, ten journalists have been charged with incitement under Article 505(a) of the Penal Code. The article outlaws any statement likely to cause military personnel to mutiny or to disregard their duties and carries a potential prison sentence of up to three years.
In a further attack on Myanmar’s media, the military regime has also revoked the publication licenses of five news outlets: Myanmar Now, Khit Thit Media, Democratic Voice of Burma, Mizzima News and 7 Day.
The Irrawaddy also has been sued by the regime under Article 505(a) for its coverage of the junta’s deadly crackdowns on anti-coup protesters.
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