In Myanmar, security officials took into custody two journalists working for Western media. One of them was Situ On Myin, a columnist for the news site Frontier Myanmar and a commentator for the Voice of America radio station. Htet Htet Khin, a freelance writer for BBC Media Action, a BBC charity that helps fight poverty and advocate for rights, was also detained. The journalists were arrested on August 15, informs Reuters citing Myawaddy TV.
Situ Myin was accused of inciting mutiny and spreading false information on social media. In these reports, the journalist criticized the military who seized power in the country, urged citizens to join strikes and support the outlawed opposition movements. Khtet Khin was accused of harboring the wanted Situ Myin, as well as supporting the opposition-formed government of national unity.
Reporters Without Borders said on Saturday that the arrested journalists are being held in complete isolation from the outside world and that their detention is illegal.
The military command of Myanmar on February 1 announced the introduction of a state of emergency for a year and the removal of the country’s civilian leadership. Army officials attributed this to large-scale fraud, which they claim took place in the November 2020 general parliamentary elections. Then the National League for Democracy (NLD) party, and before the election campaign, had a majority in parliament based on the results of the 2015 elections, strengthened its position and gained full control of the elected seats in both chambers (according to the Myanmar constitution, a quarter of the seats in the upper and lower houses of parliament countries belong to the military, and the military deputies occupying them are appointed by the command of the armed forces). At the same time, the Party of Solidarity and Development of the Union, created by the military, whose deputies usually voted in solidarity with the military deputies, received a historical minimum of seats.
Since the beginning of February, protests against the displacement of the civilian government have continued in the country. More than 1,000 people were killed in clashes with security officials.
After the military coup, 98 journalists were arrested. In recent months, the military has also revoked licenses from many news outlets. They declare that they will not tolerate the dissemination of false information that can provoke public disorder. A report by the Committee to Protect Journalists, released last month, found that Myanmar’s military leadership has outlawed independent journalism.