American journalist jailed by junta receives press freedom award

One hundred days into the detention of American journalist Danny Fenster, his family appealed to Myanmar to release him from prison a day after he received a press freedom award back home.

After weeks of no progress in Fenster’s case, during which time his family said he contracted COVID-19 at Yangon’s Insein Prison, the U.S. National Press Club announced that he will receive this year’s John Aubuchon Press Freedom Award, which recognizes courageous truth-seeking in the face of adversity.

He received the award alongside Chinese journalist Haze Fan of Bloomberg News in China, who has also been taken into custody by the state.

“We admire the resilience of these two honorees, both of whom have been unjustly detained,” press club President Lisa Nicole Matthews said. “They exemplify the importance of reporting hard truths and perseverance even in dangerous conditions. We will continue to advocate for their freedom and for their work as part of the press corps.”

Fenster was arrested May 24 at Yangon International Airport as he was about to board a plane out of the country. He was accused of defaming the Tatmadaw, as Myanmar’s military is known, and charged under Section 505 (a) of the Penal Code.

His family last spoke to him one month ago.

“It’s been a difficult 100 days – it’s hard to think it’s been 100 days,” Rose Fenster, his mother, told AFP. “But we are grateful for our community’s support.”

Jailed U.S. journalist in court again after likely COVID-19 bout at Insein Prison

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