Press release | March 8, 2021

Global Witness response to military crackdown on independent Myanmar media outlets

Global Witness strongly condemns the news announced today on Myanmar state television that Myanmar’s military junta has stripped five independent media organisations of their licences. Mizzima, Myanmar Now, 7-Day, DVB and Khit Thit Media have all been banned from operating and publishing. We also condemn the Monday raiding of Myanmar Now’s offices. 

“Today’s move to revoke these independent media organisations’ licences and raid Myanmar Now is the latest in an all-out assault by the Tatmadaw on press and civic freedoms,” said Paul Donowitz, Myanmar Campaign Leader at Global Witness. 

“These five news outlets are a key part of Myanmar’s independent media landscape and provide vital information to the people of Myanmar. Independent reporting is all the more important in the current context, helping to counter the military’s misinformation campaigns and provide the public and activists with objective accounts of what is really going on in the wake of the coup,” he added. 

“These media organisations have all covered the anti-coup protests extensively and some have historically exposed the military’s crimes - they are being shut down for bringing to light the Tatmadaw’s corruption and abuses and challenging their propaganda. We’re deeply concerned about what today’s news means for the future of independent media in Myanmar,” Donowitz continued.

This is part of the repressive crackdown on any dissent in the wake of the military’s takeover. They have killed over 60 peaceful protestors, arrested dozens of journalists, and continue to conduct night raids and pull people out of their homes. There have so far been nearly 2,000 arrests since the coup, including elected representatives, members of political parties, journalists, civil society activists, civil servants, workers and others from all parts of society. The military has cut off access to information and announced amended laws that criminalise dissent and violate fundamental rights. 

“It’s clear the Myanmar military is attempting to return the country to its darkest days,” concluded Donowitz. 

Global Witness is calling on international governments and the United Nations to take coordinated, strong punitive actions to force the military junta to release those detained, respect the November 2020 election results, and respect the fundamental rights of the people of Myanmar.

/ ENDS

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