Journalists said that since the military council has been severely suppressing the news media for three years after the military coup in Myanmar, the journalists’ survival and reporting difficulties are increasing. Especially the journalists who write and present the news in the country are facing these challenges more. Ko San Kyaw will present news from Yangon about the difficulties faced by independent news media and journalists during the 3 years since the coup d’état.
After the February 2021 military coup, hundreds of journalists were arrested and prosecuted, and news outlets were banned. Journalists say that media freedom has been blocked in various ways, including the killing of journalists. Currently, the military council is arresting journalists and arresting news outlets, and the freedom of the media in Myanmar is getting worse, said Nan Pho Gye chairman of the Independent Media Council.
“All along, the news media do not have the freedom to write and express themselves, nor do they have the freedom to conduct their news work in the relevant regions. The things that were supposed to be written and published are lost until now. Freedom of information is being lost. Another thing that is worse is that it has only been 3 years since the news media and those who worked as journalists are still being arrested.
Since the coup d’état, journalists have been arrested, tortured and killed in various ways. A local journalist said that there are journalists who are still fleeing from the country and are working on news projects under the arrest and prosecution of the military council.
“After the coup d’état, women journalists became scarce due to the arrests and prosecutions of the military.” There are many journalists who have left their job as journalists and gone on to other businesses. Men, like those who went abroad, left their jobs as journalists. I see a lot, not only in Rakhine, but in a whole country. There are a lot of sisters, and some of them even went armed.”
Currently, the journalists who are in the country are writing and presenting the news of what is happening in the region amidst the insecurity and challenges, especially the journalists who are in the areas where the fighting is intense. A journalist who is in the Rakhine region, where the fighting is currently raging, said that in addition to news agencies and security, it is also difficult to get information.
“Sisters, we are now in a place where there is no internet at all. My sister reached a situation where she couldn’t do anything about the news. As for news outlets that run domestically rather than abroad, they are no longer able to present news because they do not have access to the Internet. I don’t even have a phone line here. It’s worse in northern Rakhine. All the difficulties for the reporters and the locals. My sisters are now unemployed. “
After the coup, the military council officially shut down about 15 media outlets and arrested and released about 600 journalists. However, a newspaper teacher said that as many as 50 journalists have been imprisoned so far, the number of journalists participating in amnesty has decreased.
“They base the number of journalists on 40, It’s like keeping about 50, There are 20 people who were released at the beginning of 2121. However, in the cases released in 2022 and 2023, a maximum of 5 journalists are included. Now, in the latter part, there are not even 2 or 3. They are always about 50 journalists in prison, because they have been sentenced to a lot of punishment, and as I said earlier, they are not included in the paroles.
Since the military coup d’état, the military council has clamped down on the news media, and currently, the phone and internet lines have been cut off in areas of the country where there is a military conflict, and journalists are also facing difficulties.
After the coup d’état, Myanmar’s media industry has gone backwards for a decade, and Myanmar is among the top 10 countries with the worst press freedom in the world, according to the report of the non-regulated journalists’ group RSF, which monitors press freedom at the end of 2023.