Diplomatic missions to Myanmar underscore need for press freedom


Diplomatic missions in Myanmar used the occasion of World Press Freedom Day on Monday to call attention to the country’s continued detainment of journalists and restrictions on local media.

“Today, no major independent printed media is operating in Myanmar, and internet shutdowns continue to be used to control news coverage, communications and access to information,” said the missions.

More than 80 journalists have been detained since a February 1 coup by the military, more than half of whom remain in custody, reports dpa news agency.

Media companies have also been targeted through raids and having their licences revoked.

In the joint statement, signed by countries including Germany, the US, Australia and the Czech Republic, the military leaders of Myanmar were called on to release media workers, roll back internet restrictions and establish the freedom to access information.

“It is unacceptable that the journalists who work for access to information have to be arrested and detained in prison,” Hmue Eain Zaw, a journalist from Myanmar, told dpa.

Since the coup, Myanmar’s military has brutally cracked down on ongoing demonstrations.

Protests resumed on Monday, but they were not as large as those over the weekend, when at least five demonstrators were killed by soldiers in various parts of the country.

According to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners, at least 765 people have been killed and over 4,600 have been arrested since the coup.