Myanmar: Two more journalists arrested as junta's crusade against the right to information continues

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) condemns the recent arrest of two journalists by the Myanmar military junta and calls on the international community to increase pressure for their release and that of the 68 other media professionals detained in the country.

On 11 December 2023, Aung San Oo and Myo Myint Oo, two Myanmar journalists from the news agency Dawei Watch, were arrested at their home in the middle of the night by several police and military officers in the southern town of Mergui.

According to the editor-in-chief of this online media specialising in local news coverage of southern Myanmar, the two journalists' computers were seized during the arrest, as were their phones and those of their relatives. According to the same source, junta soldiers said they had arrested them for "publishing reports" and placed them in an interrogation centre. In January 2022, two Dawei Watch journalists and a staff member were detained for eight days by the junta.

"These two journalists were only doing their job to inform the public and should never have been arrested. We call on the international community to step up pressure on the Myanmar regime to put an end to the information blackout imposed since the 2021 Coup and to release these two journalists and the 68 others detained in the country.

Cédric Alviani
RSF Asia-Pacific Bureau Director

Media landscape under junta’s grip

In November, the military regime tightened its grip on the media by amending the law governing the Broadcasting Council, thereby taking control of television and radio media supervision. The law, amended without any debate, ensures that junta executives are now automatically members of its board of directors.

The upheaval of the Myanmar media landscape began just a few days after the putsch on 1 February 2021. The junta quickly published a blacklist of banned media. Since then, four journalists have been killed by the army: the founder of the Khonumthung news agency Pu Tuidim; the editor of the Federal News Journal Sai Win Aung; and the two freelance photojournalists Soe Naing and Aye Kaw.

Myanmar, ranked 173th out of 180 countries in RSF's 2023 World Press Freedom Index, is one of the world’s biggest jailers of journalists, second only to China.

173/ 180
Score : 28.26
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