Min Nyo, who worked for the Democratic Voice of Burma (DVB) in Myanmar’s Bago region, was arrested on March 3 and convicted by a military court in one of the first verdicts against media workers since military coup of February 1.
“DVB calls on the military authority to release Min Nyo immediately, as well as other journalists detained or sentenced across Myanmar,” he said Thursday.
He had been beaten by the police and was reportedly refused visits from his family, he added.
Tom Andrews, the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Myanmar, also denounced the sentence, saying: “The world cannot continue to sit quietly while the junta’s repressive machine imprisons the truth and those who risk everything to reveal it. “
In its nightly newscast, MRTV said another journalist, Yuki Kitazumi, charged under the same law as Min Nyo, had broken the law but would be released in recognition of Myanmar’s close ties with Japan.
Kitazumi, who runs a media company in Yangon, was arrested on April 19 for the second time since the coup and was the first foreign journalist charged.
Japan has been a large investor and source of technical and development assistance to Myanmar’s semi-civilian governments during the 10 years of democracy and reform that followed the end of the last era of military rule. in 2011.
Risk to life and freedom
Myanmar has been in turmoil since the coup, with the military struggling to impose order amid a wave of public anger over its overthrow of the elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi.
Many journalists are among the approximately 4,900 people arrested, according to the defense group of the Association of Political Prisoners (AAPP).
DVB is one of several news outlets whose licenses have been revoked by the military, which has restricted internet access and used deadly force to quell strikes and protests against it across the country. At least 785 people have been killed by security forces, according to AAPP figures.
Three of DVB’s journalists were arrested this week in northern Thailand for illegal entry after fleeing Myanmar. Human rights groups pleaded with Thailand not to deport them.
Emerlynne Gil, Amnesty International’s deputy regional director, said journalism had indeed been criminalized by the Burmese generals.
“They are risking their lives and their freedom to shed light on the abuses of the army. The military authorities are ruthless, determined to crush dissent by silencing those who seek to expose their crimes, ”Gil said in a statement.
Resistance to the army has intensified in recent weeks, with the resumption of hostilities between the army and several ethnic minority armies, deadly attacks on army-appointed administrators and ambushes by police and soldiers. by militias calling themselves the People’s Defense Forces.
MRTV announced on Thursday that martial law had been declared due to the unrest in Mindut, northwestern Chin state. Resistance groups there claim that there has been heavy fighting between armed civilians and government military troops.
Meanwhile, protests continue across the country on Friday, with protesters on motorcycles taking to the streets of Mogaung in Kachin state and dozens of protesters marching through Mandalay despite threats of heavy military repression.
Candlelight strikes by students also took place Thursday evening in Mingaladon, north of Yangon, the country’s largest city and economic center.