Nava Thakuria is a Northeast India journalist, based in Guwahati, who contributes to NewsBlaze and various media outlets throughout the world. Nava is also secretary of the Journalists' Forum Assam.

Guwahati: Expressing concern over the recent arrest of three more Burmese journalists by the military rulers of Myanmar, the Geneva-based global media rights body Press Emblem Campaign (PEC) called upon the UN Human Rights Council meeting in Geneva to condemn the military junta and initiate for release of more than 50 scribes and a large number of political prisoners.

The military regime, which has been ruling the south-east Asian country (also known as Burma and Brahmadesh) after over-throwing the Daw Aung San Suu Kyi led democratically elected government in Nay Pyi Taw on 1 February 2021, lately arrested Myo Thant, the former editor of Mizzima News from Kangye Htaung township in southwestern Myanmar.

The military personnel tracked the former editor in the township and finally picked him up. Earlier, freelance photojournalist Ma Thuzar, who contributes to Myanmar Pressphoto Agency and Friday Times News Journal and then Mandalay news agency reporter Win Naing Oo were arrested by the security forces.

New Anti-Media Laws

All three are understood to be arrested under new laws related to information defaming the government armed forces. If proven guilty by the court, they  face up to three years of imprisonment.

“As the world media is focused on Taliban brutalities against journalists in Afghanistan, the Burmese junta has taken it as an advantage to continue brutalities against the media workers. The international community should not ignore the pathetic condition of Burmese journalists and must insist on their conditional release,” said Blaise Lempen,  general secretary of PEC .

Since the 1 February coup, the Min Aung Hlaing led military regime has detained over one hundred journalists for covering the anti-junta public demonstrations across Myanmar and half of them are still under their custody.

By now more than one thousand Burmese nationals have lost their lives participating in various protest programs. More than seven thousand people have been arrested and over five thousand individuals are either detained or sentenced. Nearly 230,000 ethnic minorities were displaced since the military takeover.

Many deaths are yet to be reported, informed Mizzima chief editor Soe Myint, while speaking to PEC’s south-east Asia representative from an undisclosed location.

Other Burmese Journalists Arrested

Last month, military personnel arrested outspoken freelance journalist Sithu Aung Myint and the foreign media contributor Ma Htet Htet Khine from Yangon.

In July, three women journalists were picked up to add to the list of jailed journalists including Thin Thin Aung, Han Thar Nyein, Min Nyo, Mya Wunn Yangon, Myo Myat Myat Pan, Tu Tu Tha, Than Htike Aung, and many others.

Burmese journalists arrested by junta - Cartoon by NewsBlaze
Burmese journalists arrested by junta – Cartoon by NewsBlaze