Myanmar journalist Mya Wun Yan, editor-in-chief of the local Than Lwin Thway Chinn Journal, was arrested on July 20, 2021, at her home in Taunggyi, Shan state. She is being held in pre-trial detention on anti-state charges at the city’s Taung Lay Lone Prison.
About 30 security officers raided her residence at around 7 p.m. and arrested Mya Wun Yan and her two daughters, both of whom are also reporters, according to local reports and a Than Lwin Thway Chinn Journal staff member, who communicated with CPJ via messaging app on condition of anonymity due to fear of reprisals.
Authorities seized a laptop computer, cameras, and telephones during the raid, the reports and the Than Lwin Thway Chinn staff member said. Mya Wun Yan and her two daughters were blindfolded and held in an interrogation center at Sit Kyaw Yayy, Taunggyi.
Her two daughters were released after a week of questioning due to lack of evidence but were warned they could be rearrested, the staff member said. Mya Wun Yan was moved to Taunggyi’s Taung Lay Lone Prison on September 17, the staff member said.
She has been charged under Article 505(a) of the penal code, according to the staff member. 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 that provision allow for a maximum three-year prison sentence.
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.
CPJ’s review of Than Lwin Thway Chinn’s Facebook page showed the outlet had reported on an anti-coup protest in Yangon on July 19 and posted several articles on a COVID-19 outbreak in Shan state on July 20. The Facebook page stopped updating on July 20, the day Mya Wun Yan and her daughters were arrested.
Mya Wun Yan was quoted in a March 8 Columbia Journalism Review article on the military junta’s crackdown on the press. She was quoted saying that she noticed people following her when she traveled on her motorbike, and that her reporters had been harassed by plain-clothes intelligence officials who took their pictures. She said at the time that several of her outlet’s journalists were in hiding.
The Ministry of Information did not reply to CPJ’s emailed request sent in late November 2021 for comment on whether he has been charged and why he is being held.