Home News Press freedom under attack in Myanmar, journalists seen as 'enemies,' says report

Press freedom under attack in Myanmar, journalists seen as ‘enemies,’ says report

As many as 110 journalists have been arrested since the coup and at least 53 remain in various prisons throughout the country

Press freedom in Myanmar is under “relentless attack” by the military junta, said a report on Radio Free Asia, quoting journalists following the death of a reporter in the hands of the military this week.

Freelance photographer Soe Naing, 30, was confirmed to have died while in detention on Tuesday, December 14, days after his December 10 arrest while documenting a nationwide protest.

A reporter who declined to be named, citing fears for his security, told Radio Free Asia that what happened to Soe Naing was inevitable because the military is trying to cover up its abuses.




“All these photojournalists and videographers are people who can produce solid proof of [the military’s] violent and unjustifiable acts, and so they never show leniency to journalists,” he said.

“Lengthy jail sentences are given without any justification, just because people are holding cameras at the time of their arrest,” added the journalist.

He said the situation is “getting worse.”

“They took away a guy and killed him once they discovered he was a photojournalist.”

- Newsletter -

Paris-based media watchdog Reporters Without Borders has urged countries with a free press to condemn Soe Naing’s killing and the “escalation in terror against reporters” and to implement sanctions against the junta leadership.

Aung Gyaw, a correspondent with the Democratic Voice of Burma who was arrested by the military and later released as part of a September 28 general amnesty, said junta soldiers often torture journalists at interrogation centers.

“They’d read the news and no matter what the news agencies wrote, they tortured me, beat me, or kicked me with their heavy boots,” he said.

“They regard journalists as enemies. They would say, ‘All you reporters write things similar to this,’ and would beat me, even though the story had nothing to do with me. They hate journalists with all of their being.”

Myint Kyaw, a former member of the Myanmar Media Council, said it was unacceptable that the junta’s interrogation methods had led to a journalist’s death.

“I can understand they do not like journalists for writing reports about protests and anti-coup actions. But I cannot see any justification from any angle for why one should die during an interrogation,” he said.

He said many innocent civilians have also died in recent months. “I think there should be a valid explanation or accountability for this death as the death of a journalist represents the death of greater press freedom,” said Myint Kyaw.

According to RFA investigations, as many as 110 journalists have been arrested since the coup and at least 53 remain in various prisons throughout the country.

At least 57 journalists are currently imprisoned in Myanmar, according to Reporters Without Borders. The group ranked Myanmar 140th out of 180 countries in its World Press Freedom Index, published in early 2021.

The junta has arrested more than 8,000 civilians and killed 1,343 since February, mostly during non-violent protests of the coup, according to the Bangkok-based Assistance Association for Political Prisoners. – from a report on Radio Free Asia

© Copyright LiCAS.news. All rights reserved. Republication of this article without express permission from LiCAS.news is strictly prohibited. For republication rights, please contact us at: [email protected]

Make a difference!

We work tirelessly each day to support the mission of the Church by giving voice to the voiceless.
Your donation will add volume to our effort.
Monthly pledge

Latest