Myanmar journalist Lway M Phoung, a staff video reporter at Shwe Phee Myay News Agency, was arrested on September 26, 2021, by military authorities in Lashio, Shan State, according to the news outlet’s editor-in-chief, Mai Kaung Saing, who communicated with CPJ by email; a report on Facebook by Shwe Phee Myay News Agency; a database maintained by the Assistance Association of Political Prisoners, a local rights group; and a list maintained by Detained Journalists Information of Myanmar private Facebook group, which CPJ reviewed.
She is being held at Lashio Prison on charges under Article 505(a) of the penal code, according to Mai Kaung Saing. 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 the provision allow for maximum three-year prison penalties.
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, according to those sources and CPJ research.
Lway M Phuong was recovering from a COVID-19 infection as of mid-November, and her health has deteriorated since being detained, according to Mai Kaung Saing.
The Ministry of Information did not reply to CPJ’s emailed request for comment sent in late November 2021 on her legal status and treatment in detention.