International Day to End Impunity for Crimes Against Journalists

Written by Gen. Sa Nikamui

On 03/11/2022

The 2nd of November marks the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists. The protection for journalists is fundamental for safeguarding freedom of expression. Myanmar is now ranked 176th out of 180 countries in the Reporters Without Borders (RSF) 2022 World Press Freedom Index; with Myanmar’s military restricting access to social media, the internet and independent sources of information.

The junta introduced changes to the Penal Code and the Criminal Procedure Code which have been used to charge journalists, student leaders, civil servants, and others who oppose the military regime. Section 505(a) of the Penal Code which prohibits causing fear, spreading false news, and agitating crimes against a government employee, all punishable by up to three years’ imprisonment, is being used by the military to bring criminal charges against journalists and civilians.

Since February 2021, the junta has forced several media outlets to leave the country for reporting on the actions of the military. These outlets played a essential role in reporting the truth about the ongoing crisis in Myanmar. According to available data at least four journalists have been killed, at least 140 journalists have been arrested, and 53 media workers are currently being held in prisons. Currently Myanmar has the world’s second largest number of journalists in prison after China.

On this international day to end impunity for crimes against journalists, I would like to call on all human rights organizations and the international community to act together to stop the atrocities and crimes committed by the military. Freedom of expression and freedom of information together with all basic fundamental human rights have been lost in Myanmar since the coup. We need to fight to the end to bring back our freedoms and to end the military’s impunity. But to end these crimes swiftly, we need all the available support from the international community.

May Justice prevail.

Sincerely,

Dr. Sasa

Union Minister of the Ministry of International Cooperation
Spokesperson of the National Unity Government of Myanmar
Former Myanmar Special Envoy to the United Nations

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