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Min Nyo, who worked for the Democratic Voice of Burma (DVB) in Myanmar’s Bago region, was arrested on March 3 and was sentenced to three years in jail.A Myanmar journalist who reported on anti-military government protests has been jailed for three years for incitement, his news organisation said, while authorities announced a twice-arrested Japanese reporter would be freed.
Min Nyo, who worked for the Democratic Voice of Burma (DVB) in Myanmar’s Bago region, was arrested on March 3 and found guilty by a military court in one of the first verdicts against media workers since the February 1 military coup.
“DVB demands the military authority release Min Nyo immediately, as well as other detained or convicted journalists around Myanmar,” it said on Thursday.
He had been beaten by police and denied visits by his family, it said.
Tom Andrews, the UN Special Rapporteur on human rights in Myanmar, also denounced the sentence, saying: “The world cannot continue to sit quietly by while the junta’s repression machine imprisons the truth and those who are risking all to reveal it.”
In its nightly news bulletin, state-run MRTV said another journalist, Yuki Kitazumi, who was charged under the same law as Min Nyo, had broken the law but would be released as recognition of Myanmar’s close relationship with Japan.
Kitazumi, who runs a media company in Yangon, was arrested on April 19 for the second time since the coup and was the first foreign journalist charged.
Japan was a big investor and source of technical help and development aid for Myanmar’s semi-civilian governments in the 10 years of democracy and reform that followed the end of the last era of military rule in 2011.
Risk to life and liberty
Myanmar has been in turmoil since the coup, with the military struggling to impose order amid a groundswell of public anger at its overthrow of Aung San Suu Kyi’s elected government.
Many journalists are among the nearly 4,900 people who have been arrested, according to the Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP) advocacy group.
DVB is among several news outlets that have had licences revoked by the military, which has restricted internet access and used lethal force to suppress countrywide strikes and protests against it. At least 785 people have been killed by security forces, according to AAPP figures.
People attend an anti-coup protest on the 100th day since the military coup, in Pyigyidagun Township in Mandalay on Wednesday [Reuters]Three of DVB’s journalists were detained in northern Thailand this week for illegal entry after fleeing Myanmar. Human rights groups have pleaded with Thailand not to deport them.
Emerlynne Gil, Amnesty International’s deputy regional director said journalism had effectively been criminalised by Myanmar’s generals.
“They risk life and liberty to shed light on the military’s abuses. The military authorities are ruthless, determined to crush dissent by silencing those who seek to expose their crimes,” Gil said in a statement.
Resistance to the military has intensified in recent weeks, with hostilities reigniting between the military and several ethnic minority armies, fatal attacks on military-government-appointed administrators and ambushes of police and soldiers by militias calling themselves People’s Defence Forces.
MRTV announced on Thursday that martial law had been declared due to unrest in Mindut in northwestern Chin State. Resistance groups there say there has been heavy fighting between armed civilians and military government troops.
Meanwhile, protests continue across the country on Friday, with demonstrators on motorbikes taking to the streets in Mogaung in Kachin state and dozens of protesters marching in Mandalay despite threats of a violent military crackdown.
Candlelight strikes by students were also held on Thursday night in Mingaladon, north of Yangon, the country’s largest city and economic hub.
Myanmar’s ruling junta says that as a gesture of friendship with Tokyo, it will free a Japanese freelance journalist who was jailed and charged with spreading false news or information that could cause public unrest
A member of the semi-official Iraqi High Commission for Human Rights, Fadel al-Garawi, said they had recorded 89 attacks targeting activists, journalists, lawyers and other civil society members since mass protests against corruption, high unemployment and dire public services erupted in October 2019. Thirty-four of the attacks have been fatal.
The U.N. Human Rights agency has condemned the killing this week of an online journalist in Mexico’s northern border state of Sonora
Dubois was kidnapped in early April but the French government held off announcing it in hopes of securing his release.
Olivier Dubois worked for several media, including France 24 and Liberation daily.Bamako, Mali: A French journalist, in a video circulating on social media Wednesday, said he had been kidnapped in Mali in early April by a jihadist group with links to Al-Qaeda.The brief video could not be independently verified, although an official at the French foreign ministry confirmed that Olivier Dubois, who worked for several media, including the international TV channel France 24 and Liberation daily, was missing.In the video, which lasts about 20 seconds, Dubois said he was abducted on April 8 in the central region of Gao by the Group to Support Islam and Muslims (GSIM), the biggest jihadist alliance in the Sahel.He is seen seated on the ground, on a green sheet that could be a tent, dressed in a light pink traditional gown, with his beard trimmed.The foreign ministry official said, “We are in contact with his family and the Malian authorities. We are carrying out the usual technical verifications” of the video.Liberation, for which Dubois had been writing regularly since April last year, declined to make any immediate comment.Mali has been struggling to contain an Islamist insurgency which first broke out in the north of the country in 2012 before spreading to the centre and neighbouring Burkina Faso and Niger.Thousands of people have been killed and hundreds of thousands have fled their homes, while the economic impact on one of the world’s poorest countries has been devastating.Abductions have been frequent, both of Malians and foreigners.The last French hostage was Sophie Petronin, a 75-year-old aid worker, who was freed in October last year along with Malian politician Soumaila Cisse, who has since died, and Italians Nicola Chiacchio and Pier Luigi Maccalli.There has been consistent speculation that a ransom was paid for the four hostages, something that has never been confirmed by the Malian government, along with the release of 200 prisoners, some of whom were jihadists.In October, Switzerland was informed that the GSIM had killed an evangelical missionary who had been kidnapped in Timbuktu in January 2016.In March, the Swiss foreign ministry said the woman’s body had been recovered and formally identified.(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)
Generals who seized power in coup three months ago seek to further isolate country amid continuing opposition to their rule.Myanmar’s military-controlled media has announced a ban on satellite television dishes, saying outside broadcasts threaten national security, as the generals who seized power in a coup on February 1 charged a Japanese journalist with spreading false news.
“Satellite television is no longer legal. Whoever violates the television and video law, especially people using satellite dishes, shall be punished with one year imprisonment and a fine of 500,000 kyat ($320),” MRTV state television said on Tuesday.
“Illegal media outlets are broadcasting news that undermines national security, the rule of law and public order, and encouraging those who commit treason.”
The generals, led by army chief Min Aung Hlaing, arrested elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi and members of her government on February 1 as they seized power, ending Myanmar’s sluggish progress towards democracy.
Confirmed: Mobile data has been cut in #Myanmar for 50 days and online platforms remain heavily restricted limiting press freedom at a critical moment for the country’s future 📵#WorldPressFreedomDay#WhatsHappeningInMyanmar
— NetBlocks (@netblocks) May 3, 2021
The country has been in turmoil ever since, with more than 760 people killed as security forces struggle to quash near-daily demonstrations against their rule.
They have cut off mobile internet access, forced independent media to close and arrested reporters. At least 50 are currently in detention.
Japanese journalist Yuki Kitazumi, who was arrested for a second time last month, was charged on Monday.
Kitazumi is the first foreign journalist to be charged since the coup. A Polish photographer arrested while covering a protest in March was freed and deported after nearly two weeks in custody.
Japan, for years a top aid donor to Myanmar, has been pressing for Kitazumi’s release.
“Naturally, we will continue to do our utmost for the early release of the Japanese national being held,” Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi told Japanese journalists during a trip to Britain, according to national broadcaster NHK.
Japanese journalist Yuki Kitazumi escorted into a Yangon police station when he was first arrested in February. He has been charged with spreading fake news [File: AP Photo]Pro-democracy rallies have continued despite the military’s efforts to stamp out opposition.
On Tuesday, protesters gathered in Mandalay, Myanmar’s second-biggest city, with education staff calling for a boycott of schools and universities when they reopen in June, the Myanmar Now news agency reported.
Local media reported that five people were killed by at least one parcel bomb on Tuesday, including an overthrown legislator and three police officers who had joined the civil disobedience movement against military rule.
Meanwhile, the Chinland Defence Force, a newly formed militia in Chin state bordering India, said on its Facebook page on Tuesday that its forces had killed at least four Myanmar army soldiers and wounded 10 in a clash overnight.
The Myanmar army did not comment on the claim.
Villagers had found the beheaded body of a military appointed local administrator in the northwestern Sagaing region, independent broadcaster DVB reported, a day after another local official was stabbed to death in the biggest city, Yangon.
The Reuters news agency was unable to reach local police for comment.
The military has defended its power grab, alleging fraud in the November election, which was won by Aung San Suu Kyi’s party in a landslide, and condemned protesters as rioters and terrorists.
Anti-coup protesters flash the three-finger salute during a rally in Yangon on Tuesday YANGON: The Myanmar junta has charged a Japanese journalist under a “fake news” law, a report said Tuesday, in the latest blow to press freedom since the military seized power. Freelance reporter Yuki Kitazumi was arrested last month and charged on Monday — World Press Freedom Day — with spreading fake news, according to a report by Kyodo news agency. He is one of 50 journalists currently held in Myanmar as part of the junta’s crackdown on widespread protests against its February 1 coup. The country has been in turmoil since civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi’s government was ousted, with more than 750 people killed as security forces struggle to quash near-daily demonstrations against their rule. Kyodo cited an unnamed Japanese embassy official saying Kitazumi had no health problems, despite spending several weeks in Yangon’s Insein prison, which has a long and unsavoury reputation for holding political prisoners. Kitazumi has been in custody since April 18 — the second time he had been arrested since the coup. In February, he was beaten up and briefly held during a crackdown on protesters but was later released. Japan, for years a top aid donor to Myanmar, has been pressing for his release. “Naturally, we will continue to do our utmost for the early release of the Japanese national being held,” Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi told Japanese journalists during a trip to Britain, according to national broadcaster NHK. A total of 766 civilians have been killed in the military crackdown on protests, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP), a local monitoring group. Kitazumi is the first foreign journalist to be charged since the coup. A Polish photographer arrested while covering a protest in March was freed and deported after nearly two weeks in custody. As well as arresting journalists, the generals have sought to clamp down on news of the crisis by shuttering independent media outlets and throttling internet speeds. The AAPP says there are 50 journalists in custody at the moment, 25 of whom have been prosecuted, while arrest warrants are out for another 29. Despite the dangers, protesters continue to take to the streets, with early-morning demonstrations on Tuesday in the second-biggest city Mandalay, as well as northern Kachin state. The military has defended its seizure of power, pointing to fraud allegations in the November election, and condemned protesters as rioters and terrorists. FacebookTwitterLinkedinEMail
Yuki Kitazumi is thought to be the first foreign journalist charged for his coverage since the coup.