Ethnic Shan journalists jailed in Myanmar, PEC deplores sentences

“Journalism must not be identified as a crime and they should be allowed to perform their duties by the military rulers of Myanmar. We urge the Min Aung Hlaing led military regime to sanction an unconditional release of all imprisoned media workers,” said Blaise Lempen, secretary-general of PEC.

Nava J Thakuria

Geneva: Three ethnic Shan journalists along with a civilian were imprisoned for three years recently by a military court in Myanmar for spreading misinformation about the regime in Naypyidaw. Press Emblem Campaign (PEC), the global media safety and rights body, deplores the sentences and urges the military junta to respect the freedom of press.


Editor Nann Nann Tai (also known as Nann Nway Nway Hlaing), publisher Ko Tin Aung Kyaw and female reporter Nan Win Yi of Kanbawza Tai News along with Ko Sai Sithu, who were detained by the security forces from Hopong locality of Shan State on 24 March, continued to be in Nyaungshwe prison and incidentally the verdict came on Human Rights Day.


Quoting Ko Zay Tai, chief editor of the independent news portal with the focus on Shan State, The Irrawaddy reported that the junta forces detained Ko Sai Sithu just as a hostage. Moreover, the military personnel claim that he is also a professional reporter. Since the 1 February military coup, the south-east Asian nation continues to witness unrelented harassment of media workers.


“Journalism must not be identified as a crime and they should be allowed to perform their duties by the military rulers of Myanmar. We urge the Min Aung Hlaing led military regime to sanction an unconditional release of all imprisoned media workers,” said Blaise Lempen, secretary-general of PEC.


Various organizations of Myanmar (also known as Burma) claim that over 1,300 people have been killed by the security forces since the coup deposing Aung San Suu Kyi’s democratically elected government. More than 10,000 anti-junta demonstrators were arrested from various parts of the country, where over 120 media persons also faced detention and among them 25 are still behind bars.


A few days back, video journalist Ma Hmu Yadanar Khet Moh Moh Tun and photojournalist Ko Kaung Sett Lin sustained serious injuries during an anti-junta protest march in Yangon as it was rammed by a military vehicle. Speaking to Nava Thakuria, PEC’s south-east Asia representative, a Yangon-based journalist informed that both of them are now recovering in the hospital, however they still remain under detention.

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