Military troops are seen in Kayah state, Myanmar, on May 23, 2021. Soldiers recently arrested DVB reporter Aung San Lin at his home. (AP Photo)

DVB reporter Aung San Lin arrested in Myanmar

Bangkok, December 14, 2021 – Myanmar authorities must immediately release Democratic Voice of Burma reporter Aung San Lin and drop any charges against him, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.

At around midnight on December 11, about 20 soldiers raided Aung San Lin’s home in the village of Pin Zin, in the northwestern region of Sagiang, and arrested him, according to news reports and a report by his employer. Those reports cited an unnamed family member of the journalist who said he was beaten while being taken into detention, but did not say how he was attacked or the extent of any injuries.

Soldiers took Aung San Lin to a police station in Wetlet Township, and then at about 3 p.m. on December 12 transferred him to the Shwebo Interrogation Center, near the central city of Mandalay, where he remains in custody, according to those reports. CPJ was unable to immediately determine whether he had been charged with a crime or provided access to a lawyer.

“Myanmar authorities should release Democratic Voice of Burma reporter Aung San Lin immediately and unconditionally, and those who allegedly physically assaulted him should be identified and held accountable,” said Shawn Crispin, CPJ’s senior Southeast Asia representative. “Myanmar’s junta must stop treating news reporting as though it is a criminal act.”

CPJ emailed Myanmar’s Ministry of Information for comment, but did not immediately receive any response.

Earlier on the day of his arrest, Aung San Lin had published a report alleging that military forces committed arson attacks on the homes of three supporters of the National League for Democracy in Wetlet Township. Military Senior General Min Aung Hlaing overthrew the elected NLD-led government in a democracy-suspending coup on February 1, 2021, sparking nationwide protests.

Several DVB reporters have been detained after the independent news broadcaster was banned by the junta soon after the coup, CPJ research shows.

In November, CPJ presented its International Press Freedom Award to DVB chief editor and co-founder Aye Chan Naing in recognition of his outlet’s courage in the face of decades of military repression. 

In CPJ’s annual prison census, published earlier this month, Myanmar ranked as the world’s second-worst jailer, with at least 26 members of the press held behind bars for their work.