Maung Maung Myo

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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.

Maung Myo, a reporter for the independent Mekong News, was 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 news reports and the news agency’s editor Nyan Linn Htet, who communicated with CPJ via messaging app.

The journalist’s arrest 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.

Maung Myo, also known as Myo Myint Oo, had reported for Mekong News since June 2020 and 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.

On July 29, 2022, a Hpa-an city court in Kayin state sentenced Maung Myo to six years in prison on charges of violating Section 52(a) of the Counter Terrorism Law, according to news reports and Nyan Linn Htet.

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. A Hpa-an provincial court denied Maung Myo’s appeal in October 2022, Nyan Linn Htet said. 

Maung Myo was transferred from Hpa-an’s Taung Kalay Prison in Kayin State to Kyaikmaraw Prison in Mon State in August 2022, according to Nyan Linn Htet. He was in good health throughout 2023, Nyan Linn Htet said. 

The Ministry of Information did not reply to CPJ’s October 2023 emailed request for comment on Maung Myo’s conviction, sentencing and status in prison.