Journalists with the independent Myanmar Pressphoto agency, Ma Hmu Yandanar Khet Moh Moh Tun and Ko Kaung Sett Lin, were on assignment when junta forces drove through a peaceful anti-regime protest in Yangon and opened fire on those attempting to flee. The attack killed five people and left dozens wounded, drawing international condemnation.
Hmu Yandanar sustained serious injuries when the military vehicle rammed into the back of the protest. She remains in a critical condition at a military hospital in Yangon following surgery. Kaung Sett Lin was also injured and received medical treatment at the same hospital before being taken into custody.
Coverage of the event by state-endorsed media made no mention of the military vehicle or the deaths, stating that its forces disbanded an “unlawful riot”. While the regime claimed that 11 demonstrators were arrested, witnesses suggest that over 15 people were taken into custody.
Myanmar’s junta has antagonised journalists since it assumed control in the military coup on February 1, with over 100 journalists arrested during its administration and more than 20 remaining in custody. After its exclusion at a regional summit in October, the junta released dozens of journalists in an amnesty on humanitarian grounds, an action largely met with distrust.
The IFJ said: “The IFJ condemns the junta’s ongoing violence towards journalists and demands that the journalists enduring detainment are released. This incident shows that, despite recent attempts to remedy its image, Myanmar’s junta continues to contravene international human rights standards and subjugate freedom of expression.”