Journalist Soe Naing reportedly died in army detention following his arrest on December 10. (Photo: The Irrawaddy)

First Myanmar journalist to die in custody since February coup

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On December 10, soldiers in Myanmar arrested photographer Soe Naing after he photographed a “silent strike” protest in Yangon against the country’s military junta government. Citing anonymous friends, colleagues, and family members of the photographer, media reports stated on Tuesday that Soe Naing had died in custody. Those reports did not state any suspected cause of death for the journalist, who was in his 30s. 

Also in Myanmar, about 20 soldiers raided the home of Democratic Voice of Burma reporter Aung San Li and arrested him, and a court in Shan state sentenced three Kanbawza Tai News journalists to three years each in prison. 

This year, Myanmar became the world’s second-worst jailer of journalists, according to CPJ’s prison census. Read this analysis by Shawn Crispin, CPJ’s senior Southeast Asia representative, to see how that crackdown took place.

Global press freedom updates


Sri Lankan journalist Lasantha Wickrematunge was murdered in 2009. He was the editor-in-chief of The Sunday Leader and known for his critical reporting on the government.

Mark your calendars for January 12 and 13, 2022, for the first case hearing in A Safer World For The Truth’s series of People’s Tribunals, to be held in The Hague. A Safer World For The Truth is a collaborative initiative led by CPJ, Free Press Unlimited, and Reporters Without Borders working to fight against global impunity.
The first hearing is on the murder of Sri Lankan journalist Lasantha Wickrematunge and targeted attacks on journalists in Sri Lanka. RSVP for in-person attendance here. If you cannot attend in person, the case hearing will also be live-streamed here.
Alongside the People’s Tribunal, A Safer World For The Truth publishes reporting and stories. This week, in partnership with OpenDemocracy, they have launched a podcast, “Killing the Truth.” The first episode takes a deep dive into the story of Mexican journalist Regina Martínez Perez, who was assassinated in 2012. Listen on Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts.

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