Bangkok, January 16 (CPJ/OurVoice) – Myanmar authorities must immediately stop all attacks on the press, ensure that members of the media are not killed for their work, and thoroughly prosecute all journalist killings, the Committee to Protect Journalists said on Friday.
On December 25, 2021, journalist Sai Win Aung, also known as A Sai K, was killed in an artillery attack by Myanmar military forces while he was reporting on refugees in southeastern Kayin state’s Myawaddy township, near the border with Thailand, according to multiple news reports and a UNESCO statement that condemned the killing.
Separately, on January 6 or 7, members of the military’s 140 Infantry Battalion abducted at least 10 people, including journalist Pu Tuidim, amid fighting between the military and anti-government forces in Chin State’s Matupi Township, and later executed them, according to news reports.
On January 9, Pu Tuidim’s body was found near that township’s Kilong village, along with the bodies of the other abductees, according to those reports. One report said without elaborating that Pu Tuidim was killed on January 8.
“Myanmar journalists Pu Tuidim and Sai Win Aung paid with their lives for doing their jobs as members of the press,” said Shawn Crispin, CPJ’s senior Southeast Asia representative. “Those responsible for these heinous killings should be identified and punished to the fullest extent of the law. Myanmar’s junta must stop killing and start protecting journalists.”
Sai Win Aung edited the local Federal News Journal outlet, according to the news reports covering his death. Pu Tuidim founded and edited the Khonumthung Media Group was also a founder of the BNI Multimedia Group media network, according to reports by those outlets, which said he also reported for the Chin News Agency and Kaladan News Agency.
The first journalist death in Myanmar following the country’s 2021 coup that CPJ recorded was that of news photographer Soe Naing, who was arrested by military authorities on December 10 while covering an anti-junta protest in the commercial capital of Yangon, and was later announced to have died in custody.
CPJ emailed Myanmar’s Ministry of Information for comment on the journalists’ deaths, but did not immediately receive any reply.