Zarni Wah

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Myanmar journalist Zarni Wah is being held in pretrial detention 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. 

Zarni Wah, a reporter with the local Sky Net broadcaster, was arrested at his home in Yangon’s Taung Ukkalap Township at around 1:00 a.m. on March 12, 2022, according to local news reports. He was arrested soon after posting criticism of the military government on his personal Facebook page, the reports said.

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.

Zarni Wah is charged under Article 505(a) of the penal code, a broad provision that criminalizes incitement and the dissemination of false news, according to a database compiled by the Detained Journalists Information Myanmar private Facebook group, which CPJ reviewed. Convictions under the provision allow for a maximum three-year prison sentence.

Zarni Wah was being held at an unknown location in Yangon in late 2023, according to the local rights group Assistance Association of Political Prisoners and DJIM’s databases, which CPJ reviewed. Sky Net did not respond to CPJ’s request for comment sent by email in October 2023. 

The Ministry of Information did not reply to CPJ’s October 2023 emailed request for comment sent on Zarni Wah’s legal status, health, and terms of home detention.