Supporters of the Myanmar military government are seen in Naypyitaw on February 1, 2022. Journalist Thurin Kyaw was recently arrested after covering a pro-military rally. (Photo: AP/Military True News Information Team)

Myanmar journalist Thurin Kyaw arrested after covering rally in support of junta

Bangkok, February 8, 2022 – Myanmar military authorities must immediately and unconditionally release journalist Thurin Kyaw and drop any charges against him, the Committee to Protect Journalists said Tuesday.

On February 2, Thurin Kyaw, founder of the independent outlet Media TOP 4, was beaten by unidentified attackers while he covered a rally in support of the ruling military junta in Yangon, according to news reports.

The following afternoon, authorities in Yangon’s Insein township arrested Thurin Kyaw at his home, according to those reports, which said that two other unidentified individuals were also arrested alongside him.

CPJ was unable to immediately determine where Thurin Kyaw is being held or whether any charges had been filed against him.

“Myanmar authorities must release journalist Thurin Kyaw immediately and stop harassing reporters for doing their jobs covering the news,” said Shawn Crispin, CPJ’s senior Southeast Asia representative. “Myanmar’s junta must allow independent journalists to cover events of vital importance to the public without fear of reprisal.”

Media TOP 4 is a Facebook-based outlet that has covered local politics and news stories, including multiple bombings in early February at the one-year anniversary of the military’s democracy-suspending coup, according to CPJ’s review of its Facebook page, which has about 86,000 followers. The page has not posted any new content since February 2, and states that it has “permanently closed.”

CPJ emailed the outlet and sent a request for comment to its Facebook page, but did not immediately receive any reply.

Myanmar’s Ministry of Information did not reply to CPJ’s emailed request for comment. 

CPJ’s latest prison census, published in December, ranked Myanmar as the world’s second-worst jailer of journalists, trailing only China.