Aung Lwin (Kan Pauk Thar)

Beats Covered:
Local or Foreign:

Myanmar journalist Aung Lwin, a contributor to news website Dawei Watch, is serving a five-year sentence for terrorism, a charge Myanmar’s military regime has used broadly to stifle independent news reporting since staging a democracy-suspending coup in 2021. 

Aung Lwin, also known as Kan Pauk Thar, was arrested on April 8, 2022, in Dawei along with five other people, according to Dawei Watch editor-in-chief Thu Rein Hlaing. Thu Rein Hlaing told CPJ by email that Aung Lwin reports for Dawei Watch on politics, human rights, and corruption.

The journalist’s arrest came in the wake of the military’s February 1, 2021, coup and subsequent protests. Since then, the military junta has engaged in an ongoing crackdown on Myanmar’s independent media, detaining and sentencing dozens of journalists.

On December 29, 2022, a court in the southeastern city of Dawei sentenced Aung Lwin to five years in prison under Article 52(a) of the Counter Terrorism Law, according to a Dawei Watch report and Thu Rein Hlaing. Aung Lwin had no plan to appeal his conviction, Thu Rein Hlaing told CPJ in October 2023. 

Thu Rein Hlaing said Aung Lwin was being held at Dawei Prison in 2023 and suffered from chronic back pain that required regular medical treatment at a local public hospital. 

Dawei Watch, which covers news in southern Myanmar, is firmly in the military regime’s crosshairs. Dawei Watch reporters Ko Zaw and Ma Moe Myint and the site’s web designer Ko Thar Gyi were arrested at their homes on January 18 and 19, 2022, CPJ reported. Authorities also raided the outlet’s office and seized documents and other items.

The staff members were held for eight days of questioning before being released without charge, according to Thu Rein Hlaing. He said many Dawei Watch staff, including himself, have fled the country due to concerns for their security.

Myanmar’s Ministry of Information did not reply to CPJ’s October 2023 emailed request for comment on Aung Lwin’s conviction, health, and treatment in prison.