Kaung Sett Lin

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Myanmar Pressphoto Agency photographer Kaung Sett Lin is serving a three-year sentence for criminal incitement, an anti-state charge Myanmar’s military regime has used broadly to stifle independent news reporting since staging a democracy-suspending coup in 2021. 

Kaung Sett Lin was arrested on December 5, 2021, while covering an anti-coup protest on Phap Pingyi Road in the Kyimindaing Township of Yangon, according to news reports

Kaung Sett Lin and fellow Myanmar Pressphoto Agency camera operator Hmu Yadanar Khet Moh Moh Tun were both seriously injured when authorities rammed a military vehicle into the anti-coup protest, the reports said. 

Both reporters were taken to Yangon’s Military Hospital No. 2 for treatment. Myo Myint, Kaung Sett Lin’s father, said that his son suffered a broken back and leg as well as head and eye injuries, according to a U.S. Congress-funded Radio Free Asia report. At least five protesters were shot and killed during the military’s suppression of the protest, according to multiple news reports

The journalists’ arrests 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 21, 2022, a court in Insein Prison in Yangon sentenced Kaung Sett Lin to three years in prison with hard labor under Article 505(a) of the penal code, a broad provision that criminalizes incitement and the dissemination of false news, according to a report by his news outlet and J Paing, Myanmar Pressphoto Agency’s chief editor, who communicated with CPJ via email.

He was being held at Yangon’s Insein Prison in mid-2023, J Paing told CPJ via email. In 2023, Myanmar Pressphoto Agency’s chief editor said Kaung Sett Lin was still in pain and in dire need of medical treatment for his injuries.

The Ministry of Information did not reply to CPJ’s October 2023 emailed request for comment on Kaung Sett Lin’s conviction, legal status, injuries, and treatment in detention.