Zayar Times reporter 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 on the Detained Journalists of Myanmar private 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. De Myat Nyein was being held on charges under Article 505(a) of the penal code, according to a Myanmar Now report. 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 maximum three-year prison penalties. The Myanmar Now report said he also faces terrorism charges, which carry a maximum 10-year prison sentence.
De Myat Nyein has been held at Mandalay’s Obo Prison since July 26, Myanmar Now reported, and hearings in his case are being held at a court inside the prison.
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 those sources and CPJ research.
Zayar News website, established in 2017, covers 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.
The Ministry of Information did not reply to CPJ’s emailed request sent in late November 2021 for comment on whether he has been charged and why he is being held.