Today, August 15, marks one year since the Myanmar military regime detained Frontier columnist Sithu Aung Myint together with freelance journalist Htet Htet Khine in Yangon.
In April, a regime-controlled court formally charged Sithu Aung Myint with incitement under section 505A of the Penal Code, and sedition under section 124A of the Penal Code. The sedition charge carries a possible 20-year prison term, and the incitement charge up to three years.
Sithu Aung Myint is a long-time contributor to Frontier and a highly respected journalist with many years of experience. He has written for numerous media organisations, including Voice of America, and is considered a balanced and insightful commentator on Myanmar politics.
Frontier calls for Sithu Aung Myint’s immediate release, along with the release of all other journalists detained since the February 2021 coup d’etat for reporting on the country’s political crisis and the military regime’s abuses.
“There is absolutely no basis to the charges against Sithu Aung Myint. He and dozens of other journalists are being persecuted simply for doing their job, and should be freed immediately,” said Thomas Kean, Frontier’s editor-in-chief.
According to the Myanmar Journalists Network, at least 159 journalists have been arrested since the coup, of whom 59 – including Sithu Aung Myint and Htet Htet Khine – are still in prison. At least four journalists have reportedly been killed by the military regime.
“The junta has shown time and again that it is willing to use any means necessary to silence anyone reporting on its illegal power grab and mass atrocities,” Kean said.
“Today, no journalist inside Myanmar is safe – they could be arrested at any time and potentially face decades in prison.”