Immigration officers are seen in Bangkok, Thailand, on June 3, 2020. CPJ called on Thai authorities today to refrain from deporting three journalists to Myanmar. (Reuters/Athit Perawongmetha)

CPJ calls on Thailand not to deport detained Democratic Voice of Burma reporters to Myanmar

Bangkok, May 10, 2021 – Thai authorities should refrain from deporting three Democratic Voice of Burma reporters who were arrested yesterday, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.

“Thai authorities should uphold the country’s proud history as a sanctuary for journalists fleeing military repression in Myanmar, and on humanitarian grounds should not deport three Democratic Voice of Burma journalists recently arrested for alleged illegal entry,” said Shawn Crispin, CPJ’s senior Southeast Asia representative. “Myanmar’s military regime has repeatedly abused and detained journalists, and Thai authorities should not force these members of the press to face potentially severe retaliation for their work.”

Democratic Voice of Burma, an independent broadcaster that Myanmar’s military government banned in March, released a statement today stating that three of its journalists had been arrested in the Thai city of Chiang Mai’s San Sai district during a random search yesterday, and police charged them with illegal entry into Thailand.

The statement, which CPJ reviewed and which did not identify the journalists by name, said that all three had covered anti-coup demonstrations that have been taking place in Myanmar since the military seized power in a February 1 coup. Local news reports said that police arrested a total of five people during the search.

They are scheduled to appear in a Chiang Mai court tomorrow at 10 a.m., according to a person familiar with the journalists’ status, who asked to speak to CPJ on the condition of anonymity.