Myanmar now the world’s third-worst jailer of journalists. Here are all 42 behind bars.

Forty-two reporters were imprisoned in Myanmar in 2022, according to CPJ.
Forty-two reporters were imprisoned in Myanmar in 2022, according to CPJ.

Myanmar has become one of the most dangerous countries for journalists, with 42 reporters behind bars, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists, or CPJ. 

That puts Myanmar in third place behind only Iran (62) and China (43), according to CPJ’s annual report on attacks against the press in 2022. 

“Myanmar catapulted into CPJ’s census rankings as the world’s second-worst jailer of journalists in 2021, when a February military coup ousted the government’s elected government and cracked down on coverage of the new regime,” the group wrote.

Those include freelancers such as Sithu Aung Myint, who was sentenced to three years for incitement, a charge CPJ says the military regime “has used widely to stifle independent news reporting since staging a democracy-suspending coup in 2021.” 

Others are from a variety of agencies that reads like a who’s who of domestic outlets: Nying Nying Aye of Mizzima, Aung Sin Lin of the Democratic Voice of Burma, Ma Thuzar of Myanmar Pressphoto Agency, Myo Min Tun of the Ayeyarwaddy Times, and The Irrawaddy’s Thaung Win.

CPJ reported that 30 were jailed in 2021. Myanmar was followed by Turkey (40), Belarus (26), Egypt (21) and Vietnam (21).

Two reporters in Myanmar were killed last year, according to the report, which relied on news accounts.

Pu Tuidim, editor of Khonumthung Media Group, was abducted and executed by soldiers in January 2022 in in Chin State’s Matupi Township. Freelance photographer Aye Kyaw, who had photographed protests and was president of a photography club, was arrested at home at 2am on July 30. Several hours later, his family was told he had died in custody.

Press freedom was not respected prior to the coup. Two Reuters reporters were detained in 2017 for investigating the murder of 10 Rohingya Muslim men and boys in Rakhine state. They spent 511 days in prison.

But the coup was followed by a harsh crackdown on the press and freedom of expression, with many journalists arrested and charged with various offenses. The junta, which seized power on Feb. 1, 2021, has also imposed strict censorship on the media and restricted access to the internet.

Many have been or face charges under the Unlawful Association Act, which carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison. Other journalists have been arrested under the Official Secrets Act and the Telecommunications Act, both of which carry heavy sentences.

The situation in Myanmar has caused international concern, with human rights organizations and governments calling for the release of the journalists. The United Nations has also condemned the arrests and called for the immediate release of all those detained.

Journalists in Myanmar face facing harassment, intimidation, and violence at the hands of the military and its allies. Many journalists have been forced to flee the country, and several media outlets have been shut down.

Despite the dangerous situation, many journalists in Myanmar continue to work, often at great risk, to provide accurate and important information to the public. The CPJ has called for the international community to support these journalists and to press for the release of those who have been unjustly imprisoned.
Here are all the imprisoned reporters, per CPJ:

Name  Outlet  Arrest Date  
Htun Than AungMekong NewsMarch 2, 2022
Min Min AungFreelanceMarch 16, 2021
Than Soe AungFreelanceMarch 7, 2022
Toe AungMekong NewsMarch 2, 2022
Nying Nying Aye (Mabel)MizzimaJanuary 15, 2022
Ma Htet HtetThingangyun PostSeptember 11, 2021
Zaw Ye Htet (Zaw Min Oo)Dae PyawNovember 19, 2022
Zaw Linn Htut (Phoe Thar)FreelanceDecember 19, 2021
Htet Htet KhineFreelanceAugust 15, 2021
Thurein KyawMedia TOP 4February 3, 2022
Aung San LinDemocratic Voice of BurmaDecember 11, 2021
Kaung Sett LinMyanmar Pressphoto AgencyDecember 5, 2021
Aung Lwin (Kan Pauk Thar)Dawei WatchApril 8, 2022
Tun LynnMyanmar Light (Myanmar Alinn)September 22, 2021
Wai LynnThingangyun PostSeptember 11, 2021
Maung Maung MyoMekong NewsMay 10, 2022
Sithu Aung MyintFreelanceAugust 15, 2021
Nay NawKaren Information Center (KIC)March 28, 2022
De Myat Nyein (Myint Myat Aung)Zayar TimesJune 26, 2021
Hanthar NyeinKamayut MediaMarch 9, 2021
Win Naing OoChannel MandalayAugust 31, 2021
Win OoNHP NewsNovember 19, 2022
Lway M PhoungShwe Phee Myay News AgencySeptember 26, 2021
Pyae Phyo AungZayar TimesOctober 11, 2021
Tin Shwe (Minbu)Magway PostMarch 26, 2021
Myo San SoeDelta News Agency, Ayeyarwaddy TimesAugust 29, 2021
Yin Yin TheinFreelanceNovember 18, 2021
Than Lwin Thu (Ma New)First Weekly News JournalDecember 21, 2021
Ma ThuzarMyanmar Pressphoto AgencySeptember 1, 2021
Hmu Yadanar Khet Moh Moh TunMyanmar Pressphoto AgencyDecember 5, 2021
Khaing Myint Tun (Shwe Lin Thit)FreelanceOctober 22, 2021
Kyaw Swar TunMizzimaSeptember 8, 2022
Min Theik TunRegional News AgencyDecember 12, 2021
Myo Min TunAyeyarwaddy Times, Myitmakha News GroupOctober 22, 2021
Sai Ko Ko TunFreelanceNovember 30, 2021
Soe Yarzar TunFreelanceMarch 10, 2022
Zaw TunFreelanceDecember 10, 2021
Zarni WahSky NetMarch 16, 2022
Nyein Chan WaiFreelanceMay 15, 2021
Thaung WinThe IrrawaddySeptember 29, 2022
Aung Zaw ZawMandalay Free PressJanuary 16, 2022
Zaw ZawFreelanceApril 10, 2022
Source: CPJ

Subscribe to the WTF is Up in Southeast Asia + Hong Kong podcast to get our take on the top trending news and pop culture from the region every Thursday!

Reader Interactions

Leave A Reply


Support local news and join a community of like-minded
“Coconauts” across Southeast Asia and Hong Kong.

Join Now
Coconuts TV
Our latest and greatest original videos
Subscribe on