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. 

De Myat Nyein 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 post by the private Detained Journalists Information Myanmar (DJIM) Facebook group, which CPJ reviewed, 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. 

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.

In early January 2022, De Myat Nyein was convicted and sentenced to two years in prison 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 report and a database compiled by DJIM, which CPJ reviewed.

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 Nowreported in January 2022. Hearings in his 505(a) case were heard at a court inside the detention facility, the report said. CPJ was unable to determine the status of the terrorism case as of late 2023. 

The Zayar Times website, established in 2017, covered local news in the Sagaing Region, according to a post on the DJIM 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 October 2023 emailed request for comment on De Myat Nyein’s conviction, health, and situation in prison.