Myanmar: RSF denounces forced shutdown of independent media
Reporters Without Borders (RSF) denounces the recent shutdown of the independent media outlet Development Media Group (DMG) by Myanmar’s military junta and calls for the release of the two employees who were arrested in connection with the raid.
Myanmar junta's relentless assault on independent online media outlet Development Media Group (DMG) continues. On October 29, 2023, Htet Aung, a Myanmar journalist working for DMG, was arrested while covering a cultural festival in the western city of Sittwe. A few hours later, soldiers raided DMG’s premises and arrested the night guard, Soe Win Aung, while the rest of the staff went into hiding. The military junta sealed off the outlet’s office and seized several cameras and laptops without providing any explanation.
“Amidst Myanmar’s unprecedented crackdown on journalism and the right to information, Development Media Group is one of the last media outlets providing the public with independent information on the crimes perpetrated by the military junta. RSF denounces the arbitrary shutdown of this media outlet and urges the international community to step up its pressure on the regime for the release of the 71 journalists and press freedom defenders currently detained.
DMG is a community media organisation covering conflict and human rights violations in the state of Rakhine in the west of the country. In 2019, the military-controlled Home Affairs Ministry filed a criminal case against its editor-in-chief Aung Min Oo for alleged unlawful association. The military also filed defamation lawsuits against other DMG reporters two years later.
Since the 2021 military coup, Myanmar's media landscape has been shattered. The junta quickly issued a list of banned media outlets, including the emblematic Democratic Voice of Burma, and killed at least four journalists: freelance photographers Aye Kyaw and Soe Naing, Federal News Journal editor Sai Win Aung, Pu Tuidim, founder and editor of the Khonumthung Media Group.
Myanmar, ranked 173th out of 180 countries in RSF's 2023 World Press Freedom Index, is one of the world’s biggest jailers of journalists, second only to China.