Myanmar’s military government detained two more local journalists on Saturday, according to army-owned television, the latest in a broad assault on the media since a February 1 coup.
On Aug. 15, Sithu Aung Myint, a writer for Frontier Myanmar and a Voice of America radio commentator, and Htet Htet Khine, a freelance who has worked for the BBC Burmese service, were detained, according to Myawaddy TV.
Sithu Aung Myint was charged with sedition and disseminating false information in social media posts criticizing the junta and encouraging people to join strikes and support illegal opposition movements, according to Myawaddy.
Htet Htet Khine was accused of harboring Sithu Aung Myint, a wanted criminal suspect, and for working for and supporting a shadow National Unity Government.
Reporters Without Borders (RSF) said on Saturday that the pair were being held “incommunicado” and their detention was unlawful.
“We strongly condemn the arbitrary conditions of their detention, which reflect the brutality with which the military junta treats journalists,” said Daniel Bastard, head of RSF’s Asia-Pacific desk.
According to an activist group that has monitored security force executions, Myanmar is unstable and riven by opposition to army rule, which has resulted in the deaths of over 1,000 individuals.
Many news outlets’ licenses have been withdrawn by the military, which says it respects the role of the media but will not accept the reporting of material it feels is incorrect or likely to cause civil disturbance.
Myanmar’s leadership have essentially criminalized independent media, according to a study released last month by the Committee to Protect Journalists.
Human Rights Watch demanded that the army administration, which has detained 98 journalists since the coup, refrain from prosecuting journalists. As at the end of July, 46 of those detained were still in detention.