Myanmar: Journalist sentenced to 3 years in prison for incitement

Voice of America journalist Sithu Aung Myint was sentenced to three years in prison with hard labour on October 7 for ‘inciting government employees to commit crimes’. The International Federation of Journalists (IJF) condemns the sentencing and calls on Myanmar’s military junta to cease its persecution of journalists for their independent reportage.

Sithu Aung Myint was sentenced to three years in prison for incitement on October 7, 2022. Credit: STR / AFP

Sithu Aung Myint was arrested in Yangon on August 15, 2021, along with fellow journalist Htet Htet Khine who was sentenced to three years in prison on September 15 for incitement under Section 505(a) of Myanmar’s penal code. The journalist’s lawyer indicated that he will appeal the sentence.

Sithu Aung Myint is due to appear again in court on October 13 to face two additional chargesunder Section 124 (a) of the penal code for ‘defamation of the state’, carrying up to a life in prison.

A veteran journalist in Myanmar, Sithu Aung Myint has worked for several local and international media outlets including SkyNet, Frontier Myanmar and Voice of America’s Burmese service. He has reported on a range of political and social issues and is an outspoken critic of Myanmar’s military junta.

The verdict comes only a day after Myanmar’s military court sentenced Japanese video journalist Toru Kubota to 10 years in prison for two charges on October 6, after he filmed a protest against the junta in July.

The IFJ has documented the increasing targeting of Burmese journalists, media workers and activists with allegations of incitement, defamation, and sedition to stifle opposition to the junta. In July, freelance journalist Muang Muang Myo was sentenced to six years in prison for the possession of interviews with members of insurgent groups fighting the military government. In March, junta courts sentenced three journalists, Hanthar Nyein, Than Htike Aung and Ye Yint Tun, to two years in prison each for allegedly “spreading false news”.

The IFJ said:Under Myanmar’s military junta, journalists have faced increasingly stringent censorship, attacks, harassment, arbitrary detainment and imprisonment for their independent and critical reporting. The IFJ condemns the arrest and sentencing of Sithu Aung Myint sand calls for his immediate release from prison.”

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

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

Twitter: @ifjasiapacific, on Facebook: IFJAsiaPacific and Instagram