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Journalists in Myanmar are living in fear

The Myanmar journalists said they could hardly operate in the context of information interception, threats, arrests and violence by security forces, according to RFA.

Demonstrators chanted slogans during a protest against a military coup in Mandalay, Myanmar, on March 11, 2021 (screenshots led by EPA-EFE straitstimes).

In interviews with RFA, many reporters, editors and photographers say that the removal of Aung San Suu Kyi by the military and the elected government on February 1 caused their gathering of information becomes dangerous.

Experts have cited many examples of journalists being discouraged, facing various forms of harassment and pressure from the military authorities, including internet cut-outs, cell phone confiscation. mobility, shutting down independent media outlets, beating, arresting, detaining, and banning sources from coming into contact with the media.

“Journalists are living in fear because it’s not safe for us,” a senior editor at a Myanmar news agency told RFA this week.

“Many reporters have been arrested. Some of us have been banned from reporting, “the editor added:” The news in this country has almost stopped. ”

A journalist from Mandalay, Myanmar’s second-largest city, told RFA that no one was safe from the military’s efforts to control coverage of protests nationwide.

A photojournalist in Yangon said the military’s security forces actively prevented him from reporting on the events.

This reporter said: “When I went into the field to take pictures, the authorities opened my bag to check. They asked me to hand over the memory card ”.

Freelance reporters don’t have enough money to rent a car so they have to take a public bus ”and“ so now the government is stopping… the bus to check ”.

Residents are also afraid to speak to the media or avoid taking pictures for fear that they might be identified and punished by the military authorities.

A senior editor said: “When I try to cover news from different parts of the country, people rarely open up and confide in me with all the information they have. They have lost confidence in the media because the military is using all kinds of tricks to suppress freedom of expression and the press. ”

According to an RFA tally, 73 journalists and media staff have been arrested since the coup on February 1, and 44 are still in custody.

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