Myanmar journalist Lway M Phuong, a staff video editor at the local Shwe Phee Myay News Agency, 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 April 7, 2022, a court in Lashio Prison convicted and sentenced Lway M Phuong under Article 505(a) of the penal code, a broad provision that criminalizes incitement and the dissemination of false news, according to the news outlet’s editor-in-chief Mai Kaung Saing, who communicated with CPJ via email.
Lway M Phuong was arrested on September 26, 2021, by military authorities in Lashio, Shan State, according to Mai Kaung Saing, a report on Facebook by Shwe Phee Myay News Agency, a database maintained by the rights group Assistance Association of Political Prisoners, and a separate database maintained by the Detained Journalists Information of Myanmar private Facebook group, which CPJ reviewed.
Her 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.
Lway M Phuong was being held at Lashio Prison as of late September 2022. She contracted COVID-19 in prison in November 2021, and her health has deteriorated since being detained, according to Mai Kaung Saing, who said the jailed journalist suffered from frequent flu-like symptoms in 2022.
The Ministry of Information did not reply to CPJ’s emailed request for comment sent in late 2022 on her legal status and treatment in detention.