10 media workers including AP journalist detained in Myanmar
Published: 01:49 PM, 2 March 2021
At least 10 members of the press, including an Associated Press (AP) journalist, have been detained by police while covering protests against the military coup in Myanmar.
AP reported that it's journalist Thein Zaw, 32, was taken into custody with a number of others on Saturday morning in Yangon, the country’s largest city.
The arrest happened as police charged toward protesters gathered at the Hledan Center intersection, which has become a meeting point for demonstrators who then continue protesting elsewhere in the city.
He remained detained Sunday and was believed to be in Yangon’s infamous Insein Prison.
“The Associated Press calls for the immediate release of AP journalist Thein Zaw, who was detained in Myanmar while doing his job,” said Ian Phillips, AP vice president for international news.
“Independent journalists must be allowed to freely and safely report the news without fear of retribution. AP decries in the strongest terms the arbitrary detention of Thein Zaw,” he said.
The Foreign Correspondents Club of Myanmar also condemned the arrest.
Meanwhile, Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ)’s Asia program coordinator Steven Butler said: “Myanmar authorities must immediately release all media workers who have been detained merely for covering the news, including journalist Thein Zaw of The Associated Press; we urge authorities to refrain from lodging criminal charges against any of them.”
“Journalists have a right to cover events of public importance in Myanmar and they should not face harassment or arrest for doing their jobs.”
Security forces in Myanmar carried out further sweeping arrests Sunday and opened fire on protesters in the deadliest day since the February 1 coup that ousted the elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi. The UN Human Rights Office said it had “credible information” that at least 18 people were killed and 30 were wounded.