Burma

US Journalist Seized at Myanmar Airport

By The Irrawaddy 25 May 2021

A US journalist working for a news magazine in Myanmar has been detained by the regime on Monday at Yangon’s airport shortly before he was due to board a flight to Malaysia.

Frontier Myanmar said in a statement on Monday that its managing editor, Danny Fenster, was detained ahead of a flight to Kuala Lumpur. No reason is known for his detention.

Danny Fenster of Frontier Myanmar.

“We do not know why Danny was detained and have not been able to contact him since this morning,” Frontier said, adding that it understood that he has been moved to Insein Prison where many political detainees are being held.

“We are concerned for his wellbeing and call for his immediate release. Our priorities right now are to make sure he is safe and to provide him with whatever assistance he needs,” the magazine added.

Fenster is the third foreign journalist to be detained by the regime. Before him, two freelancers, Robert Bociaga from Poland and Yuki Kitazumi from Japan, were detained. Both of them were later freed and deported.

A court hearing of the two detained journalists from the Mandalay-based agency the Voice of Myanmar (VOM) was conducted online on Monday. Editor-in-chief U Nay Myo Linn and reporter Ko Shine Aung were detained by the regime on April 27 for questioning, leading the online news page to suspend operations.

The pair have been charged under Article 505(a) of the Penal Code, which criminalizes spreading “false” news and carries up to three years’ imprisonment.

Media under attack

Since the military takeover, the regime has targeted journalists with arrests, lawsuits, raids on newsrooms and violence to suppress coverage of its lethal crackdowns on pro-democracy protesters.

Around 85 journalists have been detained by the regime forces. Only some have been released and many are still detained and face charges under Article 505(a).

Arrest warrants have also been issued against 22 journalists.

In a further attack on Myanmar’s media, the military regime has revoked the publication licenses of eight outlets. The Irrawaddy has been sued by the regime under Article 505(a) for its coverage of the crackdowns.


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