Military’s Tactics against Burmese Uprising Target Journalism

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) has condemned Burma's military rulers for the ongoing harassment of foreign journalists and the Burmese media. The media have come under increasing attack since a protest led by monks against the military junta began nearly two weeks ago.

Japanese cameraman, Kenji Nagai, was the latest journalist casualty in the protests, having been tragically shot to death when the military opened fire on a crowd of protesters in an attempt to disperse the crowd. Nagai had been in Burma for only a few days to cover the protests for photo and video agency, APF News.

“We are saddened by the death of Mr. Nagai and others who have lost their lives in this peaceful protest,” IFJ Asia Pacific Director Jacqueline Park said. “This act of aggression from the military to fire on unarmed civilians was completely unprovoked and unjust.”

On Thursday September 27, police intimidated foreign journalists into showing them their IDs after authorities stormed several hotels where journalists were residing, where access to internet and international phone lines remained open.

Military censors threatened reprisals against journalists who challenged the regime by refusing to follow its demands. A local source in Burma has also reported that the Burmese regime yesterday ordered the closure of some privately-owned newspapers that refused to print government propaganda.

“The military junta continues to escalate acts of unprovoked violence,” Park said. “With the protests already resulting in a number of deaths and injuries, the Burmese government has worked tirelessly to prevent journalists reporting the truth.”

The IFJ calls on the Burmese military to respect Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which declares that “Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.”

For further information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific on +61 2 9333 0919

The IFJ represents over 600,000 journalists in more than 114 countries