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:
|Htun Than Aung||Mekong News||March 2, 2022|
|Min Min Aung||Freelance||March 16, 2021|
|Than Soe Aung||Freelance||March 7, 2022|
|Toe Aung||Mekong News||March 2, 2022|
|Nying Nying Aye (Mabel)||Mizzima||January 15, 2022|
|Ma Htet Htet||Thingangyun Post||September 11, 2021|
|Zaw Ye Htet (Zaw Min Oo)||Dae Pyaw||November 19, 2022|
|Zaw Linn Htut (Phoe Thar)||Freelance||December 19, 2021|
|Htet Htet Khine||Freelance||August 15, 2021|
|Thurein Kyaw||Media TOP 4||February 3, 2022|
|Aung San Lin||Democratic Voice of Burma||December 11, 2021|
|Kaung Sett Lin||Myanmar Pressphoto Agency||December 5, 2021|
|Aung Lwin (Kan Pauk Thar)||Dawei Watch||April 8, 2022|
|Tun Lynn||Myanmar Light (Myanmar Alinn)||September 22, 2021|
|Wai Lynn||Thingangyun Post||September 11, 2021|
|Maung Maung Myo||Mekong News||May 10, 2022|
|Sithu Aung Myint||Freelance||August 15, 2021|
|Nay Naw||Karen Information Center (KIC)||March 28, 2022|
|De Myat Nyein (Myint Myat Aung)||Zayar Times||June 26, 2021|
|Hanthar Nyein||Kamayut Media||March 9, 2021|
|Win Naing Oo||Channel Mandalay||August 31, 2021|
|Win Oo||NHP News||November 19, 2022|
|Lway M Phoung||Shwe Phee Myay News Agency||September 26, 2021|
|Pyae Phyo Aung||Zayar Times||October 11, 2021|
|Tin Shwe (Minbu)||Magway Post||March 26, 2021|
|Myo San Soe||Delta News Agency, Ayeyarwaddy Times||August 29, 2021|
|Yin Yin Thein||Freelance||November 18, 2021|
|Than Lwin Thu (Ma New)||First Weekly News Journal||December 21, 2021|
|Ma Thuzar||Myanmar Pressphoto Agency||September 1, 2021|
|Hmu Yadanar Khet Moh Moh Tun||Myanmar Pressphoto Agency||December 5, 2021|
|Khaing Myint Tun (Shwe Lin Thit)||Freelance||October 22, 2021|
|Kyaw Swar Tun||Mizzima||September 8, 2022|
|Min Theik Tun||Regional News Agency||December 12, 2021|
|Myo Min Tun||Ayeyarwaddy Times, Myitmakha News Group||October 22, 2021|
|Sai Ko Ko Tun||Freelance||November 30, 2021|
|Soe Yarzar Tun||Freelance||March 10, 2022|
|Zaw Tun||Freelance||December 10, 2021|
|Zarni Wah||Sky Net||March 16, 2022|
|Nyein Chan Wai||Freelance||May 15, 2021|
|Thaung Win||The Irrawaddy||September 29, 2022|
|Aung Zaw Zaw||Mandalay Free Press||January 16, 2022|
|Zaw Zaw||Freelance||April 10, 2022|