By KYAW LIN HTOON | FRONTIER
YANGON — Three Myanmar Now reporters were briefly detained in Ayeyarwady Region yesterday while reporting on the alleged recruitment of a disabled child soldier, their editor said.
Ma Kay Zone Nway, Ma Win Nandar and Ko Phyo Thiha Cho were researching a story about 16-year-old Maung Thet Min Paing, said U Zarny Win, Myanmar-language editor of Myanmar Now.
The first installment of the story, published on June 20, said he was recruited three months ago and is receiving military training in a camp in Ayeyarawady Region’s Yegyi Township.
The reporters had interviewed Maung Thet Min Paing’s family and taken photographs outside Yegyi No 8 basic military training camp, Zarny Win said. At around 3pm yesterday, he said, they entered the camp with members of his family, who had made prior arrangements to meet him.
Zarny Win said the reporters were then apprehended and interrogated by members of the Tatmadaw. The reason for their detention remains unclear.
“They went into the camp but they did not conduct interviews or take photographs. For now, more than about the story, we are concerned for the safety of our reporters,” he told Frontier yesterday afternoon.
Following their detention, the reporters could not be contacted until around 5.15pm, he said. In the interim, Myanmar Now contacted the Myanmar Press Council, Deputy Minister of Information U Aung Hla Tun and director general of the State Counsellor’s Office, U Zaw Htay. The reporters were reportedly released from the camp at about 5:30pm.
Myanmar Now editors said the reporters had not taken photographs inside the camp, but that the Tatmadaw had seized a memory card containing images related to the story.
Major Colonel Myat Min Oo, a spokesperson for the Tatmadaw True News Information Team, said today he knew nothing of the incident and declined to comment.