Freelance journalist Myat Ko Oo is serving a three-year prison sentence for criminal incitement, a charge Myanmar’s military regime has used broadly to stifle independent news reporting since staging a democracy-suspending coup in 2021.
In the wake of the military’s February 1, 2021, coup and subsequent protests, the junta has engaged in an ongoing crackdown on Myanmar’s independent media, detaining and sentencing dozens of journalists.
Myat Ko Oo, a freelance editor for outlets including Myanmar Now, was arrested on September 13, 2022, while covering an anti-coup flash protest in Yangon’s Kyimyindaing township, according to a U.S. Congress-funded Radio Free Asia (RFA) report and a database compiled by the Detained Journalists Information Myanmar (DJIM) Facebook group, which CPJ reviewed.
On March 30, 2023, a court inside Yangon’s Insein Prison sentenced Myat Ko Oo convicted and sentenced him for violating Article 505(a) of the penal code, a broad provision that criminalizes incitement and false news, according to the RFA report and DJIM’s data.
Myat Ko Oo was not included in CPJ’s 2022 prison census because CPJ was not aware of his arrest and detention at the time.
He was being detained in Yangon’s Insein Prison under unclear conditions in late 2023, according to a database compiled by the local rights group Assistance Association of Political Prisoners and DJIM’s database.
The Myanmar Ministry of Information did not reply to CPJ’s October 2023 emailed request for comment on Myat Ko Oo’s conviction, sentencing, health, and status in prison.