Thailand to decide fates of 3 Myanmar journalists who fled persecution

Thai authorities this morning said they will seek a “humanitarian solution” after a number of Myanmar journalists and activists were arrested for crossing into the kingdom illegally.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Tanee Sangrat announced this morning that they were aware of the case amid concern the detainees would face reprisal were they to be deported back into Myanmar. The group of five; which included three correspondents for Democratic Voice of Burma, or DVB; was taken into custody Monday in Chiang Mai province.

“Thai authorities concerned are coordinating to find humanitarian solution(s) to the recent case of journalists from Myanmar,” Tanee said in a tweet.

Aye Chan Naing, the news outlet’s executive director, told reporters that he was trying to secure the release of journalists Nay Thwin Nyein, Kyaw Zaya Win and Nay Yi Yi. He said they had gone to Thailand to continue their work after the broadcaster’s license was revoked by the junta.

“DVB strongly urges the Thai authorities to not deport them back to Burma, as their life will be in serious danger if they were to return,” Aye Chan Naing wrote yesterday in an English-language statement. “They have been covering the demonstrations in Burma until March 8 – the day the military authority revoked DVB’s TV license and banned DVB from doing any kind of media work.”

A number of its reporters have been arrested since the license was revoked in March.

Human Rights Watch and the Committee to Protect Journalists are among those calling on Thailand to safeguard the detainees.

“Thailand should absolutely not send these DVB journalists and activists back into harm’s way in Myanmar because they will face certain arrest and persecution by the State Administration Council junta,” said Brad Adams, director of Human Rights Watch in Asia, nothing that the junta had “criminalized ownership of satellite dishes, in part to prevent DVB’s satellite broadcasts from reaching the Burmese people.”

He said Thailand should immediately release the five journalists and activists and allow them to remain temporarily in the kingdom.

Shawn Crispin of the Committee to Protect Journalists said “Thai authorities should uphold the country’s proud history as a sanctuary for journalists fleeing military repression in Myanmar.”

DVB began as a Norwegian-based radio station in 1992 and began broadcasting in 2005 out of Thailand. In 2012, after democratic reforms came to Myanmar, it opened offices Yangon.

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CITY: YANGONCATEGORY: NEWS

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