PEC Raises Concern Over Harassment Of Burmese Journalists

PEC Raises Concern Over Harassment Of Burmese Journalists
Source: EPA-EFE/LYNN BO BO

Switzerland-based global media rights body, Press Emblem Campaign (PEC), expressed serious concern over the continued harassment of journalists and other media persons in Myanmar by the Burmese junta.

The Burmese junta ousted the democratically elected government in NayPieTaw with a military coup on 1 February 2021.

In a press release, the PEC stated that the junta rulers have detained nearly 100 journalists, "who dared to question their credentials to rule the south-east Asian nation and over 40 of them are still behind the bars".

"The generals, led by Min Aung Hlaing, who has recently declared himself as the Premier of Myanmar, continue to target the media persons with arbitrary raid, detention, and arrests," the release read, adding, "In reality, they have tried to destroy the entity of free press".

"Not only the local Burmese journalists, the junta now wants to diktat the foreign media outlets with a proper way of describing the military regime, which grabbed the political power deposing Daw Aung San Suu Kyi led National League for Democracy (NLD) government of Myanmar," said  Blaise Lempen, general secretary of PEC (www.pressemblem.ch/).

Recently, the military officials expressed their resentments as the media outlets continued using the term 'military junta' to describe the regime and they warned not to repeat the mistake.

"Indicating the foreign news agencies, which are reporting about Myanmar, they asked the correspondents to stop using wrong terms and also avoid spreading 'fake news. Otherwise, the military generals threatened to take of necessary actions against them," the release stated.

"Lately, two more journalists were detained that increases the number of scribes and other media workers arrested up to 95 since the coup took place. Military personnel had recently arrested outspoken freelance journalist U Sithu Aung Myint and the foreign media contributor Ma Htet Htet Khine from Yangon on 15 August 2021," said Aung Zaw, a senior Burmese journalist, while speaking to  PEC's India representative Nava Thakuria from an undisclosed location.

He also added that three women journalists were arrested in the month of July. Released media persons described how they were tortured in the name of interrogation during their detentions. Families of journalists under detention like Han Thar Nyein, Min Nyo, Mya Wunn Yangon, Myo Myat Myat Pan, Thin Thin Aung, Tu Tu Tha, Than Htike Aung, etc are worried about their safety and security as the Covid-19 is also spreading across the developing country.

Over one thousand Burmese nationals have lost their lives participating in various protest demonstrations against the military regime, said the PEC adding that more than seven thousand people have been arrested and over five thousand individuals are either detained or sentenced, whereas nearly  230,000 ethnic minorities have been displaced since the recent military takeover in the land of golden pagodas.

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