International Press Institute (IPI) welcomes the release of AP journalist in Myanmar

From The International Press Institute (IPI) is a global network of editors, media executives and leading journalists

Urges military rulers to release all detained journalists


Mar 26, 2021

The International Press Institute (IPI), a global network of editors, media executives and leading journalists for press freedom, today welcomed the release of Associated Press journalist Thein Zaw by a Myanmar court.

Media – Thein Zaw, who was arrested on February 27 in Yangon and charged with breaching public order was released today following his second court appearance. The judge in the case also dismissed the charges against Zaw, who faced up to three years in prison.

“IPI welcomes the release of Thein Zaw, who was detained for doing his job as a journalist and should never have been behind bars in the first place”, IPI Deputy Director Scott Griffen said. “Myanmar must now immediately release all other journalists it is holding. The military junta must stop all forms of harassment and intimidation of media covering demonstrations against the coup and end restrictions on publication and broadcasting by media outlets in the country. The international community must continue to pressure the authorities in Myanmar to uphold press freedom.”

Between February 1 and March 15, at least 39 journalists were detained in Myanmar, according to Frontier Myanmar.

BBC journalist Aung Thura and former Mizzima reporter Than Htike Aung, were taken away by plainclothes men on March 19. While Aung Thura was released yesterday without being charged, Than Htike Aung remains in detention.

According to media reports, the BBC reporter was interrogated and not allowed to sleep for three nights. The interrogators asked the journalists about his contacts with protest leaders and pro-democracy groups. He was released after signing a document.

The authorities have increasingly sought to crack down on journalistic coverage of the protests against the military coup. The military has cancelled the licences of at least five news organizations, which however continue to disseminate news through social media platforms.

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