Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

World

Myanmar junta charges six journalists, including AP photographer

-

Myanmar's military authorities have charged an Associated Press photographer and five other journalists over their coverage of anti-coup protests, their lawyer said Wednesday.

AP photographer Thein Zaw, 32, was arrested on Saturday as he covered a demonstration in Myanmar's commercial hub Yangon.

The country has been in uproar since February 1, when the army detained Aung San Suu Kyi and other civilian leaders, ending Myanmar's brief experiment with democracy and sparking protests far and wide.

Thein Zaw's lawyer said he and five other Myanmar journalists had been charged under a law against "causing fear, spreading false news or agitating directly or indirectly a government employee".

The junta amended the law last month, to increase the maximum sentence from two years to three years in jail.

Myanmar coup arrests
Myanmar coup arrests
Janis LATVELS, AFP

"Ko Thein Zaw was simply reporting in line with press freedom law -- he wasn't protesting, he was just doing his work, the lawyer, Tin Zar Oo, said, adding that all six were being held at Insein prison in Yangon.

The other five journalists are from Myanmar Now, Myanmar Photo Agency, 7Day News, Zee Kwet Online news and a freelancer, according to AP.

AP's vice-president of international news Ian Philips called for Thein Zaw's immediate release.

"Independent journalists must be allowed to freely and safely report the news without fear of retribution," he said.

"AP decries in the strongest terms the arbitrary detention of Thein Zaw."

The Myanmar junta's coup on February 1 has sparked protests far and wide
The Myanmar junta's coup on February 1 has sparked protests far and wide
STR, AFP

Since the coup, authorities have steadily stepped up their tactics against anti-military protesters, deploying tear gas, water cannon and rubber bullets, as well as isolated incidents of live rounds.

Sunday was the bloodiest day since the military takeover, with the UN saying at least 18 protesters were killed across the country. AFP independently confirmed 11, adding to five killed in earlier incidents.

According to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP) monitoring group, more than 1,200 people have been arrested since the coup, with about 900 still behind bars or facing charges.

But the real number is likely far higher -- state-run media reported that on Sunday alone more than 1,300 people were arrested.

Protesters take part in a demonstration against the military coup in Yangon
Protesters take part in a demonstration against the military coup in Yangon
STR, AFP

AAPP says that 34 journalists are among those detained, with 15 released so far.

"This repression is obstructing the flow of accurate information and news," AAPP said, adding that journalists were being subjected to "violent attacks" despite having clear credentials.

The most recent confirmed arrest came Monday, when a Myanmar journalist with broadcasting service Democratic Voice of Burma (DVB) live-streamed a late-night raid on his home.

The footage -- posted on DVB's Facebook page -- appeared to show loud bangs outside his apartment building as he pleaded with authorities not to shoot.

Myanmar’s military authorities have charged an Associated Press photographer and five other journalists over their coverage of anti-coup protests, their lawyer said Wednesday.

AP photographer Thein Zaw, 32, was arrested on Saturday as he covered a demonstration in Myanmar’s commercial hub Yangon.

The country has been in uproar since February 1, when the army detained Aung San Suu Kyi and other civilian leaders, ending Myanmar’s brief experiment with democracy and sparking protests far and wide.

Thein Zaw’s lawyer said he and five other Myanmar journalists had been charged under a law against “causing fear, spreading false news or agitating directly or indirectly a government employee”.

The junta amended the law last month, to increase the maximum sentence from two years to three years in jail.

Myanmar coup arrests
Myanmar coup arrests
Janis LATVELS, AFP

“Ko Thein Zaw was simply reporting in line with press freedom law — he wasn’t protesting, he was just doing his work, the lawyer, Tin Zar Oo, said, adding that all six were being held at Insein prison in Yangon.

The other five journalists are from Myanmar Now, Myanmar Photo Agency, 7Day News, Zee Kwet Online news and a freelancer, according to AP.

AP’s vice-president of international news Ian Philips called for Thein Zaw’s immediate release.

“Independent journalists must be allowed to freely and safely report the news without fear of retribution,” he said.

“AP decries in the strongest terms the arbitrary detention of Thein Zaw.”

The Myanmar junta's coup on February 1 has sparked protests far and wide
The Myanmar junta's coup on February 1 has sparked protests far and wide
STR, AFP

Since the coup, authorities have steadily stepped up their tactics against anti-military protesters, deploying tear gas, water cannon and rubber bullets, as well as isolated incidents of live rounds.

Sunday was the bloodiest day since the military takeover, with the UN saying at least 18 protesters were killed across the country. AFP independently confirmed 11, adding to five killed in earlier incidents.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

According to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP) monitoring group, more than 1,200 people have been arrested since the coup, with about 900 still behind bars or facing charges.

But the real number is likely far higher — state-run media reported that on Sunday alone more than 1,300 people were arrested.

Protesters take part in a demonstration against the military coup in Yangon
Protesters take part in a demonstration against the military coup in Yangon
STR, AFP

AAPP says that 34 journalists are among those detained, with 15 released so far.

“This repression is obstructing the flow of accurate information and news,” AAPP said, adding that journalists were being subjected to “violent attacks” despite having clear credentials.

The most recent confirmed arrest came Monday, when a Myanmar journalist with broadcasting service Democratic Voice of Burma (DVB) live-streamed a late-night raid on his home.

The footage — posted on DVB’s Facebook page — appeared to show loud bangs outside his apartment building as he pleaded with authorities not to shoot.

Written By

With 2,400 staff representing 100 different nationalities, AFP covers the world as a leading global news agency. AFP provides fast, comprehensive and verified coverage of the issues affecting our daily lives.

You may also like:

World

Nearly 200 nations start online negotiations Monday to validate a UN science report.

Life

Amid pushbacks against requiring coronavirus vaccinations for cruise ships and NFL players, there is now a new lobby for mandatory vaccination.

Life

Mary Simon, who on Monday became the first indigenous person to be named governor general of Canada, has fought to preserve her people's way...

World

The US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) said Monday its more than 100,000 health care personnel would have to get Covid-19 shots.