Myanmar: Mass arrests of journalists covering protests

Journalists covering protesters standing against Myanmar’s military coup have been detained by security forces with reports of up to 25 journalists arrested since the military junta seized power on February 9. The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) demand the military to immediately release the journalists that have been detained for their media coverage and ensure media workers can operate without fear of arrest or persecution.

Police arrest Myanmar Now journalist Kay Zon Nwe covering protests in Yangon on February 27, 2021. Credit: YE AUNG THU / AFP

Over Saturday 27 and Sunday 28 of February, at least ten journalists were detained by security forces across Myanmar amongst the arrests of hundreds of demonstrators in Chin State, Monywa, Yangon and other regions. Thein Zaw, a journalist from the Associated Press was one of the journalists taken into custody on Saturday in Yangon, Myanmar’s largest city, as was Ma Kay Zon Nway, from Myanmar Now who was arrested while live-streaming the protests. The United Nations Human Rights Office reports at least 18 dead and over 30 wounded on Sunday 28 and IFJ adviser Phil Thornton cites at least 19 confirmed killings and 10 unconfirmed killings reported by Myanmar local media as of 5:00 pm on Sunday 28.

Following the violent weekend for protesters and journalists, Aung Kyaw, a correspondent for the independent media company, Democratic Voice of Berma (DVB), who covered the demonstrations in Myeik, Taninthayri Division on Sunday 28 of February was arrested at his home at 10:30 pm on March 1 in Myeik. Aung Kyaw live-streamed his arrest which showed the military firing live ammunition at him and breaking into his house to take him away. It is currently unknown where Aung Kyaw is or why he was arrested.

According to The Irrawaddy, of the 25 journalists arrested since February 9, ten are still detained.

The IFJ said: “The frightening subversion of legal processes throughout the countless arrests of journalists without reason and the arbitrary use of deadly force by police highlights the violent reality of democracy in Myanmar. The IFJ stands in solidarity with media unions and workers in Myanmar and condemn the arrest of journalists, urging the military to immediately release those detained for covering the demonstrations.”

For further information contact IFJ Asia - Pacific on ifj@ifj-asia.org

The IFJ represents more than 600,000 journalists in 140 countries

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