Two reporters attacked, arrested while covering flash mob protest in Myanmar
Reporters Without Borders (RSF) sounds the alarm about an escalation in the military junta’s use of terror against journalists in Myanmar after two journalists with the Myanmar Pressphoto Agency were physically attacked and injured, and then arrested, while covering an anti-regime protest on Sunday in Yangon, the country’s leading city.
One of the two journalists, video reporter Hmu Yadanar Khet Moh Moh Tun, underwent surgery in a Yangon military hospital after her arrest.
“We are not allowed to see her, all we know from her doctor is that she is alive, though unconscious,” one of her relatives told The Irrawaddy news website on Monday, providing virtually the only information her current condition.
Hmu Yadanar and her Myanmar Pressphoto Agency colleague, photographer Kaung Sett Lin, were arrested while covering a “flash mob” protest on Sunday morning in Yangon’s western Kyimyindaing Township in which around 30 people participated.
A photo posted on social media showing Hmu Yadanar in her hospital bed with a serious head injury suggests that her condition is extremely worrying, Kaung Sett Lin was also injured at the time of their arrest.
“In their escalating crackdown on the media, Myanmar’s military are now compounding their relentless, arbitrary arrests with extreme violence against journalists,” said Daniel Bastard, the head of RSF’s Asia-Pacific desk. “The names of Hmu Yadanar and Kaung Sett Lin have just been added to the list of at least 49 journalists who are currently detained. We call on the international community to send a strong signal to the ten-month-old military junta by imposing strict and targeted sanctions on those responsible.”
After Sunday’s arrests of the two journalists, a court in the capital, Naypyidaw, passed a four-year jail sentence on Aung San Suu Kyi, the head of the government that was democratically elected in November 2020, on 6 December. This icon of Myanmar’s pro-democracy movement is expected to receive further sentences that could result in her spending the rest of her days in detention.
Myanmar is ranked 140th out of 180 countries in the World Press Freedom Index that RSF published in early 2021.