BANGKOK, Thailand — On Wednesday, a top US State Department official appealed for the immediate release of two American journalists detained by Myanmar’s military junta.
“Building wealthy, resilient, and free communities requires free and independent media. The arrests and use of violence by the Burmese military against other journalists, as well as the incarceration of Daniel and Nathan, represent an intolerable attack on the freedom of speech in Burma,” Sherman told media during a stop in Bangkok, referring to Myanmar by its previous name.
Fenster, 37, the managing editor of the news and business journal Frontier Myanmar, was held on June 24 at Yangon International Airport as he prepared to board an aircraft to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on his way to meet his family in the Detroit area.
According to the Committee to Protect Journalists in New York, Maung and Myanmar native Hanthar Nyein, co-founders of the Myanmar news website Kamayut Media, were detained on March 9, according to stories in Myanmar media. Maung, the website’s editor-in-chief, and Hanthar, a news producer, were allegedly physically assaulted during their first two weeks of imprisonment at an interrogation center in Insein township, according to the organization.
Two more international journalists have been detained by the military junta that seized power in February after deposing Aung San Suu Kyi’s civilian administration. Robert Bociaga of Poland and Yuki Kitazumi of Japan, both freelancers, have now been deported.
According to Myanmar’s Assistance Association for Political Prisoners, roughly 90 journalists have been detained since the army took over, with more than half still in custody and 33 in hiding.
More than 4,400 individuals are in jail, according to the group, which keeps a precise account of arrests and fatalities since the military takeover. This includes 110 people who have already been convicted.