De Myat Nyein (Myint Myat Aung)

Beats Covered:
Local or Foreign:

Zayar Times reporter De Myat Nyein, who is also known as Myint Myat Aung, is serving a two-year 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. He also faces terrorism-related charges that were still pending in late 2022. 

In early January 2022, De Myat Nyein was convicted and sentenced under Article 505(a) of the penal code, a broad provision that criminalizes incitement and the dissemination of false news, according to a Myanmar Now news report and a database compiled by the Detained Journalists Information Myanmar private Facebook group, which CPJ reviewed.

He was arrested by military authorities who arrived in three cars in the morning of June 26, 2021, in Sagaing City, Sagaing Region, according to a Facebook post by the Detained Journalists of Myanmar and a database maintained by the Assistance Association of Political Prisoners, a local rights group. 

Authorities seized his phone, laptop, and motorcycle, according to those reports. Myanmar Now reported that he was convicted in part for referring to Myanmar’s junta as a “coup regime” and that he also faces terrorism charges, which carry a maximum 10-year prison sentence.

De Myat Nyein is being held at Sagaing’s Shwebo Prison, Myanmar Now reported. Hearings in his 505(a) case were heard at a court inside the detention facility, the report said. 

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.

Zayar Times website, established in 2017, covered local news in the Sagaing Region, according to a post on the Detained Journalists of Myanmar Facebook group. It has closed down since the coup, the post said. CPJ’s messages to Zayar Times via Facebook messenger and email went unanswered. 

The Ministry of Information did not reply to CPJ’s emailed request sent in late 2022 for comment on De Myat Nyein’s conviction and situation in prison.