Than Lwin Thu (Ma Nwe)

Beats Covered:
Local or Foreign:

Myanmar journalist Than Lwin Thu, also known as Win Win Nwe and Ma Nwe, is serving a 10-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. 

Than Lwin Thu was arrested by police and military security forces on the evening of December 21, 2021, at her home in Thit Taw Quarter, Taunggyi, Shan State, according to news reports, a database maintained by the Detained Journalists Information Myanmar private Facebook group, which CPJ reviewed, and her daughter Eaint Thet Ngon Poo, who communicated with CPJ via an intermediary. Eaint Thet Ngon Poo said authorities also sought her own arrest during the raid. 

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.

On October 27, 2022, a Taunggyi city court in Shan State convicted and sentenced her to 10 years in prison under Section 50(j) of the Counter Terrorism Law, Eaint Thet Ngon Poo told CPJ. 

Eaint Thet Ngon Poo said that Than Lwin Thu reports for the local The First News and First Weekly News Journal, and co-founded with her daughter the Taunggyi Nway Oo Channel, which covers human rights issues. 

Than Lwin Thu was being held in Taung Lay Lone Prison in Nyaungshwe Township, Shan State in late October 2023, according to her daughter. She was not suffering from any known health issues, her daughter said. 

Myanmar’s Ministry of Information did not reply to CPJ’s emailed request for comment on Than Lwin Thu’s legal status and situation in detention sent in late 2023.