Vox Pop: Hope and despair mingle on World Press Freedom Day in Myanmar

On World Press Freedom Day on May 3, DMG reached out to journalists who shared their views on the situation in Myanmar and the challenges facing press freedom.

By Admin 03 May 2024

Vox Pop: Hope and despair mingle on World Press Freedom Day in Myanmar

DMG Newsroom
3 May 2024, Sittwe

Since its February 2021 coup, Myanmar’s military regime has imposed a brutal crackdown on independent media, arresting and jailing journalists, issuing warrants for their arrests, raiding newsrooms and revoking press licences.

More than 100 journalists have been jailed for various reasons over the past three years. Some of them died in custody, others were jailed and are still behind bars, and some are still on trial, while many have gone into hiding inside the country or have joined the ranks of those in exile.

On World Press Freedom Day on May 3, DMG reached out to journalists who shared their views on the situation in Myanmar and the challenges facing press freedom.

Naung Naung || Planning Editor || Mizzima

Journalists have been badly persecuted in Myanmar under military rule. Many journalists are still behind bars, and many journalists from independent news agencies have been forced to flee to the border or foreign countries due to the junta’s arrests. I have also fled to the border and continue to work as a journalist despite difficulties. 

Though some journalists are still working inside the country, they have to work under the 24-hour surveillance of military intelligence personnel. The arresting and jailing of journalists is not surprising as successive military dictators have done so to cover up their crimes against civilians. 

We are just doing our job to provide the people with the correct information about what is happening on the ground, and what the perpetrators are doing. We call for the release of detained and jailed journalists. I feel very sorry that journalists, who play an important part in the country’s reform process, are spending their precious time in prison.

Female media trainer

Regarding the situation of journalists in Myanmar today, it is fair to say it is the worst in history. Though journalism is not a crime, governments in successive periods have arrested, prosecuted and jailed journalists. The crackdown on the media after the 2021 coup has been the worst. It [the ruling junta] views journalism as a crime and arrests and imprisons many journalists. It has even killed some journalists. 

Inside the country, journalists have to keep a low profile to make sure that their profession is not exposed. This reflects how seriously journalists are unsafe in this country. Detained journalists must be released, and journalists must be allowed to do their job freely.

Wunna Khwar Nyo || Chief Editor || Western News

Since the military coup, freedom of the press has declined drastically, and journalists are still being arrested and killed, unjustly arrested and imprisoned, their homes sealed off, and newsrooms raided. They recently killed journalist Phyo Thiha in Arakan State and buried his body. So far, the military has not taken action or investigated the matter. 

The military has taken the personal information of every journalist in Arakan State, so it means that they can arrest and imprison them at any time. The military regime is like a big hell dog ready to destroy the people, let alone the freedom of the press, if their interests are affected. 

The military regime needs to immediately release all the arrested journalists and withdraw the cases against the journalists being unjustly prosecuted.

Hsaung Zar Chi || Senior Reporter || DMG

Journalists do not dare to say that they are reporters on the ground, and there is no freedom when writing news. This is the fear that the regime has instilled. The regime arrests journalists and issues arrest warrants. Journalists face huge security challenges. 

In Arakan State, journalists are fleeing the hands of the regime, fleeing their homes due to the fighting. That’s why I want journalists to be allowed to report freely and the detained journalists to be released as soon as possible.

Freelance journalist || Arakan State

Since the military coup, the media’s role has fallen into darkness. Media freedom is gone. The regime arrests and imprisons journalists and is working in various ways to prevent the media from surviving, so the journalists are hiding in liberated areas and presenting the right news to the people despite the difficulties and challenges. 

Journalists in conflict-ravaged Arakan State are working in the midst of threats to their lives, phone and internet access challenges, and there are difficulties on all sides. In the midst of these difficulties, I respect the journalists who are working on the side of truth and justice for the people. On World Press Freedom Day, which falls today, I wish for an end to the military dictatorship and the arrival of a bright, new day of media freedom.