Reporter killed in Myanmar military attack near Thai border
Reporters Without Borders (RSF) calls on the international community to toughen its sanctions on Myanmar’s military junta after a journalist who was covering the plight of refugees in the southeastern state of Kayin was killed during an army artillery attack near the border with Thailand on 25 December.
Federal News Journal editor Sai Win Aung, also known as A Sai K, was the second journalist to die as a result the junta’s violence in less than two weeks.
He was killed instantly by a gunshot in Lay Kay Kaw Myothit, a town in Myawaddy district, during an artillery attack by the Tatmadaw, Myanmar’s armed forces, against members of the People’s Defence Force (PDF), which has been offering armed resistance to the junta.
“Sai Wing Aung paid with his life for his determination to provide his fellow citizens with coverage of the terror that the armed forces have been inflicting on Myanmar’s population since last February’s military coup,” said Daniel Bastard, the head of RSF’s Asia-Pacific desk. “He died a hero and his fight must not be in vain. We urge the international community to impose new targeted sanctions on members of the ruling junta in order to end the current escalation in terror.”
World’s second biggest jailer of journalists
Freelance photographer Soe Naing was the first journalist to die at the junta’s hands. Held since 10 December and badly injured during interrogation, he died of his injuries on 14 December, as RSF reported the same day. Soldiers had arrested him while he was covering a silent street protest in Yangon, Myanmar’s biggest city.
In its annual round-up of abusive treatment and violence against journalists published last week, RSF reported that a record number of journalists are being detained worldwide at the end of 2021 and that Myanmar has become the world’s second biggest jailer of journalists, after China.
Two journalists were being detained in Myanmar in connection with their work at the end of 2020, but Myanmar’s prisons are now holding at least 57, according to RSF’s press freedom violations barometer, which is constantly updated.
Myanmar is ranked 140th out of 180 countries in the World Press Freedom Index that RSF published in early 2021.