Two more journalists were detained in Myanmar on Friday, part of the military’s intensifying efforts to choke off information about resistance to last month’s coup. Mizzima News reported that one of its former reporters, Than Htike Aung, and Aung Thura, a journalist from the BBC’s Burmese-language service, were detained by men who appeared to be plainclothes security agents outside a court in the capital of Naypyidaw.
The journalists were there to cover legal proceedings against Win Htein, a detained senior official from the National League for Democracy (NLD), the party that ran the country before the takeover. The coup reversed years of slow progress towards democracy after 50 years of military rule. In the face of persistent strikes and protests against the takeover, the military has responded with an increasingly violent crackdown and efforts to severely limit the information reaching the outside world. Security forces have fired on crowds, killing hundreds, internet access has been severely restricted, private newspapers have been barred from publishing, and protesters, journalists and politicians have been arrested in large numbers. About 40 journalists have been arrested since the February 1 coup, with roughly half still in detention.
The junta has also gone after the country’s press corps, revoking the licenses of five independent local broadcasting services, raiding newsrooms, and arresting journalists working to cover the news.