Myanmar journalist arrested after overnight attack: Employer

Pro-democracy protesters and a journalist run as riot police officers advance towards them during a rally in Yangon on Feb 27, 2021.
Pro-democracy protesters and a journalist run as riot police officers advance towards them during a rally in Yangon on Feb 27, 2021.PHOTO: REUTERS

YANGON (AFP) - A Myanmar reporter was attacked in his home and detained by the military, his employer said Tuesday (March 2), after days of crackdowns by the junta on anti-coup protesters.

Myanmar's military has escalated force as it attempts to quell an uprising against its rule, deploying tear gas, rubber bullets and, increasingly, live rounds.

Journalists have found themselves targeted by police and soldiers as they try to capture the unrest on the streets.

In recent days, several have been arrested, including an Associated Press photographer in Yangon.

A Democratic Voice of Burma (DVB) reporter live-streamed his detention on Monday night, showing chaotic footage of loud bangs happening outside his apartment building in the southern city of Myeik.

Hours later, DVB said on Twitter that reporter Kaung Myat Hlaing had been taken from his home by security forces.

"DVB has no knowledge of where he was taken away, and which military authority took him," said the statement.

It added that Mr Kaung Myat Hlaing's latest reports were on a weekend military crackdown in Myeik, as well as on Monday's demonstrations.

Loud bangs could be heard during Mr Kaung Myat Hlaing's livestream, which was hosted on DVB's official Facebook page.

“Please don’t terrorise,” he pleaded. “If you are shooting like this, how will I come down?”

DVB, a well-known news organisation within Myanmar, started as an exile media outlet during the previous junta, broadcasting uncensored reports on TV and radio.

After a 49-year hold on power, the military dictatorship loosened its grip in 2011, and DVB moved into Myanmar the following year.

The outlet demanded Tuesday that the military release Mr Kaung Myat Hlaing, as well as other journalists detained since the February 1 putsch.

DVB director Aye Chan Naing told AFP the military was employing many of the same tactics as the previous junta.

But “it’s totally different now – you’ve got internet, you’ve got mobile phones, people are well connected within the country,” he said, speaking from Norway.

“They may be able to crack down on this uprising, but it will always haunt them for as long as they are in power.”