Geneva/Guwahati: Press Emblem Campaign (PEC), the Switzerland based media rights body, while condemning the armed generals of Myanmar (earlier known as Burma) for detaining/arresting over 65 journalists since the military coup on 1 February 2021, insists on everyone’s unconditional release. In a strong message to the Burmese junta, the PEC (https://pressemblem.ch/pec-news.shtml) asserts that journalists performed their job reporting public outrages against the Tatmadow and hence they must not be harassed.
The uproarious situation in the southeast Asian country still continues as thousands of common Burmese nationals are hitting the streets demanding the end of military rule and restore the democratically elected government virtually led by Daw Aung San Suu Kyi. Protest demonstrations in NayPieTaw, Yangon, Mandalay, Meiktila,Magway, Myingyan, etc have resulted in the killing of over 700 people by the military personnel. Thousands of civilian protesters have been injured in the series of brutal crackdowns by the security forces across the country. More than 3,000 democratic activists, civil society representatives, influential social workers have been arrested. Lately, the military authority led by top general Min Aung Hlaing also publishes the list of journalists and active social media users who are reportedly wanted under various ruthless military rules.
“The arrested journalists face sedition laws under section 505 (a) of Myanmar penal code that may put them behind the bars for around three years. The military authority run Myanmar Radio and Television continues to broadcast the name of wanted journalists under the specified rules, which is appalling,” said PEC general secretary Blaise Lempen, who is a former journalist with the prominent Swiss news agency.
According to local media reports, 12 female journalists were also arrested by the military authority. More arrest warrants were issued against Zin Thaw Naing (Democracy Vision), Nay Zaw Naing (Democratic Voice of Burma), independent journalists namely Sithu Aung Myint, Myat Kyaw Thu, July Moe, Ye Wint Thu, Thar Noe Wai, Han Htoo Zaw, Lu Min Thaung Tun along with photo journalists Pyae Sone Aung and Soe Zeyar Tun.
“Mizzima news publisher Thin Thin Aung, who was in India during her exile days, was arrested for raising voices against the junta,” said Nava Thakuria, PEC’s south Asia representative adding that other media workers in the list includes James Pu Hton, Than Htike Aung, Zin Thaw Naing, Nan Nan Tai, Nan Win Yi, Tin Aung Kyaw, Min Nyo, Aung Kyaw, Ye Myo Khant, Aung Ye Ko, Hein Pyae Zaw, Kay Zun Nway, Soe Yazar Tun, etc.