Detained journalist murdered by Burmese Army

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) condemns the murder of missing journalist by the Burmese Army earlier this month. The IFJ is deeply outraged by the murder of the journalist who was last seen and heard from on September, 30 after he was detained by the Army in Kyaikmayaw in Mon State in the south east of Myanmar.

Aung Kyaw Naing was a 49-year-old freelance journalist, commonly known as Par Gyi. He was regularly working with reporters in Mon State, working on reports about ethical issues along the Burma-Thai border. Reports suggest that Aung Kyaw Naing was arrested by the army so that they could interrogate him about whereabouts of DKBA (Democratic Karen Benevolent Army) units. He was returning from DKBA-controlled area when he was detained.

According to a statement from the Burmese Army, Aung Kyaw Naing was in the custody of an unnamed ‘roving battalion’ looking for DKBA  rebels, when he tried to ‘seize a gun from a guard and run away; then he was shot dead by the guard’ at around 7.40pm on October 4.

The Interim Myanmar Press Council received a statement from the Army detailing the death of the journalist, which also said that the journalist had been buried in Shwe War Chong, a village 20 km from Kyaikmayaw and that his wife would be informed. However reports suggest that his wife is yet to be informed of his murder.

Aung Kyaw Naing’s wife, Than Dar who made a public appeal following his arrest for his immediate release said “I don’t want wives and daughters to suffer like we suffer. I will proceed with charges [against the army] for torture and death.”

The IFJ Asia Pacific acting director Jane Worthington said “This murder of Aung Kyaw Jiang  is deeply outrageous and saddens the entire media community across the Asia Pacific region. Journalists in Myanmar continue to face numerous challenges reporting across the country and incidents like these continue to weaken the ability of journalists to report freely and safely.”

“We call on the government to adequately investigate this incident and punish those responsible. We call into question the initial arrest of Aung Kyaw Naing, and call for freedom of press to be supported by all across Myanmar.”

For further information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific on +61 2 9333 0950 

The IFJ represents more than 600,000 journalists in 131 countries 

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