PEC expresses concern over continued harassment to Burmese journalists

NJ Thakuria

Geneva/ Guwahati: Press Emblem Campaign (PEC), the Switzerland based
global media rights body, expresses serious concern over the continued
harassments to journalists and other media workers of Myanmar (also
known as Burma), by the Burmese junta, which dethroned
the democratically elected government in Nay PieTaw with a military coup
on 1 February 2021.

The militaryrulers have detained nearly one hundred journalists, who
dared to questiontheir credentials to rule the south-east Asian nation
and over 40 of them arestill behind the bars. The generals, led by Min
Aung Hlaing, who has recentlydeclared himself as the Premier of
Myanmar, continue to target the mediapersons with arbitrary raid,
detention and arrests. In reality, they have triedto destroy the
entity of free press.

“Not only the local Burmese journalists, the junta now wants to diktat
the foreign media outlets with a proper way of describing the military
regime, which grabbed the political power deposing Daw Aung San Suu Kyi
led National League for Democracy(NLD) government of Myanmar,” said
Blaise Lempen, general secretary of PEC (

Recently, the military officials expressed their resentments as the
media outlets continued using the term ‘military junta’ to describe the
regime and they warned not to repeat the mistake. Indicating the
foreign news agencies, which are reporting about Myanmar, they asked
the correspondents to stop using wrong terms and also avoid spreading
‘fake news’. Otherwise, the military generals threatened to take of
necessary actions against them.

“Lately, two more journalists were detained that increases the number
of scribes and other media workers arrested up to 95 since the
coup took place. Military personnel had recently arrested outspoken
freelance journalist U Sithu Aung Myint and the foreign media
contributor Ma Htet HtetKhine from Yangon on 15 August 2021,” said
Aung Zaw, a senior Burmese journalist, while speaking to  PEC’s India
representative Nava Thakuria from an undisclosed location.

He also added that three women journalists were arrested in the month
of July. Released media persons described how they were tortured in the
name of interrogation during their detentions. Families of journalists
under detention like Han Thar Nyein, Min Nyo, Mya Wunn Yangon, Myo Myat
Myat Pan, Thin Thin Aung, Tu Tu Tha, Than Htike Aung, etc. are worried
about their safety and security as the Covid-19 is also spreading
across the developing country.

Over one thousand Burmese nationals have lost their lives participating
in various protest-demonstrations against the military regime, said the
PEC adding that more than seven thousand people have been arrested and
over five thousand individuals are either detained or sentenced,
whereas nearly  230,000 ethnic minorities have been displaced since the
recent military takeover in the land of golden pagodas.

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