Myanmar journalists face persecution at home and abroad

In early March the Myanmar junta revoked licenses allowing independent media. Since then, many journalists face persecution and economic challenges. More than 70 have been arrested and in recent weeks, dozens of arrest warrants have been issued.

Some fled abroad and crossed the border to Thailand illegally. Despite promises by Thai government officials to seek a humanitarian solution, three journalists from Democratic Voice of Burma were fined and sentenced on May 28 in the northern Thai city of Chiang Mai. Kyaw Zeyar Win, Nay Thwin Nyein and Maneri Yee were sent to Bangkok to serve a 7-month prison sentence.

For the ones that stayed behind, life has become increasingly difficult. As a consequence, only a few journalists are reporting independently, while the need for unbiased news and facts during the protests is enormous. The military is using the lack of independent news for their own benefits and are trying to manipulate the people.

“I have been out of work since February 1 and am still unemployed,” said a former TV reporter who wished to remain anonymous. “It’s hard to find another job, not only me. Many other reporters like me are currently trying to find any kind of job we can.”

Some journalists have resorted to selling cameras and other equipment to earn money for food and rent, while others have abandoned the profession and started selling food online. Some female former reporters and editors have taken up jobs as textile factory workers.

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