Freelance videographer Aung Ko Latt, who has contributed to Democratic Voice of Burma and founded the Myanmar Citizen News Agency, was arrested on March 21, 2021, in the capital Naypyidaw, according to a report by the U.S. Congress-funded Voice of America and a post on the Detained Journalists of Myanmar private Facebook group, which CPJ reviewed.
His arrest came in the wake of the military’s February 1, 2021, democracy-suspending coup and subsequent protests. The military junta cracked down on Myanmar’s independent media, detaining dozens of journalists, according to the Voice of America report and CPJ research.
Aung Ko Latt is being detained at Naypyidaw prison on charges under Article 505(a) of the penal code, according to Voice of America. The broad provision criminalizes “any attempt to cause fear, spread false news or agitate directly or indirectly a criminal offense against a government employee” or that “causes their hatred, disobedience, or disloyalty toward the military and the government.” Convictions under that provision allow for a maximum three-year prison sentence.
A preliminary hearing in his case was held at a Naypyidaw prison court on April 5, according to the Voice of America report.
The Ministry of Information did not reply to CPJ’s emailed request sent in late November 2021 for comment on his legal status and treatment in detention.