Myanmar journalist Maung Maung Myo is serving a six-year sentence for terrorism, a charge Myanmar’s military regime has used broadly to stifle independent news reporting since staging a democracy-suspending coup in 2021.
On July 29, 2022, a Hpa-an city court in Kayin state sentenced Maung Myo, a reporter for the independent Mekong News, to six years in prison on charges of violating Section 52(a) of the Counter Terrorism Law, according to news reports and the news agency’s editor Nyan Linn Htet, who communicated with CPJ via messaging app.
Maung Myo was convicted for possessing pictures and interviews with members of People’s Defense Forces, an array of insurgent groups that are fighting Myanmar’s military government, according to those sources. Authorities banned Mekong News after the military seized power in a February 1, 2021, coup, according to Nyan Linn Htet.
Maung Myo was transferred from Hpa-an’s Taung Kalay Prison in Kayin State to Kyaikmaraw Prison in Mon State in August, according to Nyan Linn Htet. He said Maung Myo was in good health and that he was working with lawyers to appeal his conviction as of late September.
Maung Myo, also known as Myo Myint Oo, was first arrested on May 10, 2022, at the Salween River bridge checkpoint near Hpa-an after officials discovered he had shared Mekong News reports on his personal Facebook page, according to those news reports.
Maung Myo has reported for Mekong News since June 2020 and has covered various political topics, including COVID-19 in Myanmar, anti-coup protests, and clashes between the military government and armed resistance groups, including People’s Defense Forces.
The Ministry of Information did not reply to CPJ’s emailed request for comment on Maung Myo’s conviction, sentencing and status in prison in late 2022.