Editor for the Federal News Journal, Sai Win Aung, was killed in an attack by military forces on December 25 while reporting on refugees in Kayin state’s Myawaddy township, near the Thai border.
Sai Win Aung, also known as A Sai K, was fatally shot by Myanmar’s armed forces, the Tatmadaw, in an artillery attack against members of the resistance group the People’s Defence Force (PDF).
UNESCO Director-General, Audrey Azoulay, condemned the killing. “Media workers like Sai Win Aung risk their lives to keep the public informed. Their work deserves to be recognized and their safety protected in line with international humanitarian law, which forbids attacks on civilians,” she said.
On January 6 or 7, Pu Tuidim, a founder of media collective Burma News International (BNI) and Chin news outlet the Khonumthung Media Group, was abducted, along with at least nine others, in the Matupi Township of Myanmar’s Chin State by members of the military’s 140 Infantry Battalion.
The bodies of the abductees, including Pu Tuidim, were found on January 9, with the journalist reported to have been killed on January 8.
The citizens were said to have been captured and used as human shields, to allow soldiers to navigate the Matupi-Hakha Road, a route prone to improvised explosive device (IED) attacks. The military had been clashing in the area with members of the anti-government Chinland Defense Force (CDF) since January 6. A CDF spokesperson said that once the military had navigated the road, all hostages were systemically shot dead.
Three journalists have been killed in Myanmar since December, with freelance photographer Soe Niang murdered on December 14 after four days of torture. 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 many remaining in custody.
The IFJ said: “The brutal killings of Sai Win Aung and Pu Tuidim, simply for doing their jobs as members of the media, display the military junta’s blatant silencing of critical voices and disregard for press freedom. The IFJ calls for swift justice to be brought to the perpetrators, to the full extent of the law, and urges Myanmar’s military to cease its vilification of journalists and media workers.”