Anti-coup protesters give three-finger salute at rally in Yangon on Tuesday
YANGON: The Myanmar Council indicted a Japanese journalist under a “fake news” law, a report said on Tuesday, in the latest blow to press freedom since the military took power.
Freelance Journalist Yuki Kitazumi was arrested last month and charged on Monday – World Press Freedom Day – with the spread of fake news, according to a report by Kyodo Press Agency.
He is one of 50 journalists currently detained in Myanmar in connection with the junta’s crackdown on widespread protests against his coup of February 1.
The country has been in turmoil since the government of civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi was ousted, with more than 750 people killed as security forces struggle to crush almost daily protests against their government.
Kyodo quoted an anonymous Japanese embassy official as saying that Kitazumi had no health problems, despite having spent several weeks in Insein prison in Yangon, which has a long and unsavory reputation for detention. of political prisoners.
Kitazumi has been detained since April 18 – the second time he has been arrested since the coup.
In February, he was beaten and briefly detained in a crackdown on protesters, but was later released.
Japan, for years one of Myanmar’s biggest aid donors, has been pushing for its release.
“Of course, we will continue to do our utmost for the early release of the detained Japanese national,” Foreign Minister said Toshimitsu Motegi Japanese reporters told reporters on a trip to Britain, according to national broadcaster NHK.
A total of 766 civilians were killed in the military crackdown on the protests, according to the Association for Assistance to Political Prisoners (AAPP), a local watchdog group.
Kitazumi is the first foreign journalist to be indicted since the coup. A Polish photographer arrested while covering a protest in March has been released and deported after nearly two weeks in detention.
In addition to arresting journalists, the generals have sought to suppress news of the crisis by shutting down independent media and limiting internet speeds.
The AAPP says there are currently 50 journalists in custody, 25 of whom have been prosecuted, while arrest warrants have been issued for 29 others.
Despite the dangers, protesters continue to take to the streets, with demonstrations early in the morning Tuesday in the second largest city of Mandalay, as well as in northern Kachin state.
The military defended its seizure of power, citing allegations of fraud in the November elections, and condemned the protesters as rioters and terrorists.