Predator

MIN AUNG HLAING

3 July 1956



Chairman of the State Administration Council of Myanmar since 1 February 2021


Predator since 2011



Myanmar, 140th/180 countries in the 2021 World Press Freedom Index



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Dear [Name of Candidate],

I am writing to ask you what you plan to do to defend the First Amendment, freedom of the press, and the fundamental rights of journalists to practice their profession freely in what has become an increasingly hostile environment for information and news providers.

The United States, which enshrines press freedom in the First Amendment of its Constitution, is currently witnessing a drastic decline in media freedom. On June 28, one of the most horrific attacks on press freedom in the United States occurred when five employees, including four reporters, were killed at the Capital Gazette newspaper in Annapolis, Maryland. According to the US Press Freedom Tracker, which comprehensively documents press freedom violations in the US committed by national, state, and local authorities as well as private individuals, 33 journalists were arrested, 43 were physically attacked, and 15 seizures of journalists’ equipment occurred in 2017. In one of these incidents, Rep. Greg Gianforte physically assaulted a Guardian journalist the night before his state’s election. While covering the school shooting in Parkland, Florida, journalists were impersonated on social media, impeding their ability to accurately investigate the facts and disseminate information which could be vital to preventing a similar tragedy. This hostility towards the press not only risks compromising the American public’s right to be informed through journalists’ reporting, but can also degrade the public’s trust in the media itself.

This is not a partisan issue; it is a fundamental right that impacts every American no matter their politics. Journalism is at the crux of our democracy, and communities everywhere rely on journalists to provide them with information that is essential to their daily decision-making processes. It was local investigative journalist Curt Guyette who broke the story about Flint, Michigan’s lack of access to clean water in 2014, prompting years of class-action lawsuits, protests, and subsequent federal assistance to the city in order to try to resolve the crisis. Reporters Megan Twohey, Jodi Kantor, and Ronan Farrow publicized sexual assault allegations against influential Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein in 2017, leading to the ubiquitous and powerful #MeToo movement which brought decades of sexual abuse and harassment across multiple industries to light.

Yet freedom of the press in the US is currently in dire need of congressional support. It is our civic duty as one of the world’s leading democracies to uphold principles that support and protect the rights of journalists so that they may hold those in power accountable and ensure an informed and engaged community.

If you are elected, what do you plan to do to protect this utterly essential component of our democracy? What are your plans to protect the public’s right to be informed through a free and independent press?

Sincerely,
[Your name]
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Hello, my name is _______ and I am from [city, state].

I’m calling to let you know that [candidate/representative]'s stance on freedom of the press is extremely important in my decision to vote. I feel that this is not a partisan issue, but a fundamental right that impacts every American no matter their politics.

I have become increasingly concerned with the growing climate of hostility for journalists in this country, and I would like for [candidate/representative] to publicly address what they will do to defend press freedom if [he/she] is elected.

Thank you.
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Freedom of the press is suffering in the US. @[yourcandidate] if you are elected to serve in Congress, what are your plans to protect journalists and our right to be informed? Will you #DefendPressFreedom?

Democracy depends on a free and independent press and its ability to hold those in power accountable. [@yourcandidate] will you take measures to protect journalism and the First Amendment? Will you #DefendPressFreedom?

In June, four reporters were murdered in an appalling targeted attack on the Capital Gazette and freedom of the press. [@yourcandidate] what will you do to address the growing threat to journalists in this country? #DefendPressFreedom

Press freedom is in steady decline in the US. I want my representative to defend the work of journalists as well as my right to be informed. [@yourcandidate] if you are elected what will you do to protect a free press? #DefendPressFreedom
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Journalists play a crucial role in our democracy by keeping us informed and holding those in power accountable. And yet in the US, attacks on journalists are becoming more common, undermining the media's role and creating opportunities for government overreach, the erosion of press freedom, and impeding our right to be informed. I’m contacting my candidates and encouraging them to defend press freedom during their midterm election campaign. Join me at DefendPressFreedom.com

A free press is essential to our democracy. Communities everywhere rely on journalists to report on our government’s actions and hold public figures accountable, providing us with the information we need to make decisions every day. And yet physical, verbal, and online attacks against journalists in the US are increasing at an astonishing rate. I’m contacting my candidates and encouraging them to defend press freedom during their midterm election campaign. You should too. Read more at DefendPressFreedom.com

Press freedom is declining in the US at an alarming rate. Physical, verbal, and online attacks against journalists have increased drastically in the last two years. As the US midterm elections approach, we must remind our congressional candidates that journalists play a crucial role in our democracy by keeping us informed and holding those in power accountable. I’m contacting my representatives and encouraging them to defend press freedom during their midterm election campaign. Join in and help me spread the word at DefendPressFreedom.com

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    PREDATORY METHOD: Terror





Gen. Min Aung Hlaing had chomped at the bit for ten years, since becoming armed forces commander-in-chief in 2011. That was the year the then military junta disbanded after ruling with an iron hand for nearly half a century and allowed a free and dynamic press to begin developing. But this army general never ceased to keep a close eye on the media and oversaw censorship and disinformation. In fact, he played a central role in the dissemination of fake news and hate speech in the run-up to the genocide of Myanmar’s Rohingya population in 2017. Using his networks within the police and courts, he managed to censor all independent reporting on this subject.

 

In the light of his dominant role in the political and media domains for ten years, the coup that he carried out on 1 February 2021 was only a partial surprise. With the military back in power, Myanmar found itself overnight in the same situation as under the previous junta, when the media were subject to prior censorship and journalists were arrested by the truck-load, tortured and locked in dog cages. Since staging the coup, Min Aung Hlaing has subjected the media to a rapidly expanding crackdown in which all independent outlets have been closed, dozens of journalists have been imprisoned, and complete control is now exercised over what the press reports. Terror is back.



    FAVOURITE TARGETS: Anyone covering the horror



    Alors qu’il n’était que chef des armées, Min Aung Hlaing avait fait montre de son redoutable pouvoir de nuisance contre la presse libre. Le cas le plus emblématique est celui de deux journalistes de Reuters, Wa Lone et Kyaw Soe Oo, qui avaient réussi à enquêter sur le massacre de civils rohingyas en 2017. Ils ont payé le prix fort : victimes d’une machination politico-judiciaire, ils ont été condamnés à sept ans de prison pour avoir simplement tenté de faire leur travail. Cette décision, prise par un seul homme, le général Min, en dépit de toutes les condamnations internationales, a eu un effet dévastateur sur l’ensemble de la profession - qui a compris ce qu’il lui coûterait d’aborder les sujets considérés par Min Aung Hlaing comme interdits. Pourtant, après le putsch de 2021, les reporters ont agi en héros en couvrant, pendant des semaines, les manifestations hostiles à la junte. Arrêtés, torturés, ils ont malheureusement été les premières victimes de son effroyable appareil répressif.


    FAVOURITE TARGETS: Anyone covering the horror


    While just armed forces commander-in-chief, Min Aung Hlaing already demonstrated the extent of his ability to create problems for the media. The highest profile case was that of Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo, two Reuters reporters who paid a high price for managing to investigate a massacre of Rohingya civilians in 2017. The victims of political and judicial machinations, they were sentenced to seven years in prison just for doing their job. This decision, taken by a single man, Gen. Min Aung Hlaing, despite widespread international condemnation, had a devastating effect on the entire journalistic profession, which could now clearly see what the price was for tackling stories he regarded as off limits. Nonetheless, after the 2021 coup, journalists heroically covered the protests against the junta for weeks. Arrested and tortured, they were among the first victims of his horrific repressive apparatus.