Myanmar video producer Aung Zaw Zaw is serving a two-year prison sentence for criminal incitement, a charge Myanmar’s military regime has used broadly to stifle independent news reporting since staging a democracy-suspending coup in 2021.
On March 23, 2022, the Kantablu Township Court in Sagaing convicted and sentenced him under Article 505(a) of the penal code, a broad provision that criminalizes incitement and the dissemination of false news, according to news reports and a database compiled by the Detained Journalists Information Myanmar private Facebook group, which CPJ reviewed.
Aung Zaw Zaw, a part-time video editor at Mandalay Free Press, a local independent news outlet, was arrested on January 16, 2022, at his home in Tokaksha Village, Kantablu Township, Sagaing Division, according to news reports and DJIM’s data.
A source close to Aung Zaw Zaw’s family quoted in a Myanmar Now report said authorities searched his phone and laptop computers during the raid on his residence and that “they found things they didn’t like in the laptops.”
Three days later, on January 19, The Mandalay Free Press released a statement saying Aung Zaw Zaw had not committed any crime and that he should be released.
Aung Zaw Zaw is a former student of the Myanmar Journalism Institute (MJI) and reported for about 18 months for the local Monywa Gazette news agency, which was closed down in April last year soon after the coup, according to a U.S. Congress-funded Radio Free Asia report.
CPJ could not confirm where Aung Zaw Zaw was being detained in late 2022. Myanmar’s Ministry of Information did not reply to CPJ’s emailed request for comment on Aung Zaw Zaw’s conviction, sentencing and detention in late 2022.