Myanmar journalist Ma Htet Htet was arrested by police in the commercial capital of Yangon on September 11, 2021, according to news reports. She is being held in pre-trial detention in Yangon on anti-state and false news charges.
Ma Htet Htet, an editor at the local Thingangyun Post news site, faces charges under Article 505(a) of the penal code, according to news reports. 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 a maximum three-year prison sentence.
Ma Htet Htet also faces terrorism charges, which carry a maximum 10-year prison sentence, according to local reports. She was arraigned on the charges on October 27, the reports said.
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.
The Ministry of Information did not reply to CPJ’s emailed request sent in late November 2021 for comment on the charges against Ma Htet Htet and her detention.