The International Women’s Media Foundation, Article19, Freedom House, Free Press Unlimited PEN International and PEN America are outraged by the ruling junta’s increasing attacks against journalists in Myanmar. The violent treatment of journalists produces fear, self-censorship and silence, eviscerating press freedom. Consequently, the citizens of Myanmar are deprived of the information they need during the current coup-induced crisis.
At least 38 journalists have been detained by armed forces since Myanmar’s coup began in February, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners Burma. Many are being held on vague criminal charges, as reported by the Committee to Protect Journalists. At least five independent media outlets have been de-licensed, and one, Myanmar Now, was raided by soldiers and police. Further, an intentional, ongoing internet shutdown has severely diminished journalists’ ability to do their jobs from the ground.
These attacks on press freedom prevent local journalists from informing the international public about a critical moment in Myanmar’s history; media workers should not have to fear for their freedom, and lives, while reporting.
Collectively, we call for the immediate release of all detained journalists and offer our support to all journalists – both staff and freelance – continuing to report from the ground. The world’s eyes are on Myanmar; the junta must cease these violent attacks on press freedom.