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10 journalists being held by Myanmar army over protest coverage

  • Published at 11:07 am March 2nd, 2021
Police Brutality in Myanmar protest
Police fire tear gas as they attempt to disperse protesters taking part in a demonstration against the military coup in Yangon on February 27, 2021 AFP

Journalists have found themselves targeted by police and soldiers as they try to capture the unrest on the streets

At least 25 journalists have been apprehended during the police crackdown against the anti-coup demonstrations across Myanmar between February 14 and March 1, with 10 journalists are still in detention.

They were covering the demonstrations in Yangon, Myitkyina, Monywa, Hakha, Magwe, Pathein, Pyay, Mawlamyine and other cities, reports The Irrawaddy.

Twelve were released without facing charges while two were released on bail after being charged under Article 505(a) of the Penal Code carrying up to two years' imprisonment after trying to get a comment from the security forces for a balanced story.

The other 10 journalists were being held without facing any charges on Monday.

Meanwhile, a reporter of Democratic Voice of Burma (DVB) was attacked in his home and detained by the military, his employer said Tuesday, reports AFP.

Myanmar's military has escalated force as it attempts to quell an uprising against its rule, deploying tear gas, rubber bullets and, increasingly, live rounds. 

Journalists have found themselves targeted by police and soldiers as they try to capture the unrest on the streets. 

The DVB reporter livestreamed the Monday night attack on his apartment building in the southern city of Myeik as he pleaded for help. 

Hours later, DVB said on Twitter that reporter Kaung Myat Naing had been taken from his home by security forces.

"DVB has no knowledge of where he was taken away, and which military authority took him," said the statement. 

Also Read - Myanmar court files 2 more charges against Suu Kyi; protesters march again

It added that Kaung Myat Naing's latest reports were on a weekend military crackdown in Myeik, as well as on Monday's demonstrations. 

Loud bangs could be heard during Kaung Myat Naing's livestream, which was hosted on DVB's official Facebook page.

"If you are shooting like this, how will I come down?" he shouted at the security forces outside.

DVB, a well-known news organization within Myanmar, demanded Tuesday that the military release Kaung Myat Naing, as well as other journalists detained since the February 1 putsch. 

"They are all doing their professional jobs as journalists," it said.

Ko Ahr Mahn, 7Day News chief editor, told The Irrawaddy on Monday that detaining journalists who were legally covering news events is unacceptable.

A 7Day journalist has also been detained since February 27. He was covering an anti-regime demonstration on Insein Road near Hledan junction.

"Journalists are now deliberately being arrested. This is unacceptable. Journalists are just performing their duties, not protesting," said Ko Ahr Mahn. 

"Providing accurate information on the ground is not a crime."

By Monday, around 1,132 people, including leaders and lawmakers from the National League for Democracy, political activists, artists, monks, writers, protesters, journalists and government staff involved in the civil disobedience movement, have been detained or face arrest warrants, according to the Assistance Association of Political Prisoners.

An estimated 833 people are still in detention or face arrest warrants.

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