Thursday, June 29, 2017

Thursday, June 29, 2017
The following statement has been issued by the Foreign Correspondents Club of Thailand in relation to the journalists who met up with members of the TNLA (Ta'ang National Liberation Army) in Myanmar (Burma) and who have disappeared after being seized by the Burmese military.

The professional membership of the Foreign Correspondents' Club of Thailand (FCCT) is deeply concerned by the Myanmar military's detention of three local journalists earlier this week in eastern Shan State.

Thein Zaw from The Irrawaddy as well as Aye Nai and Pyae Phone Naing from the Democratic Voice of Burma (DVB) have not been heard from since they were arrested by the army on Monday.

The three reporters were returning from a drugs-burning ceremony organised by the Ta'ang National Liberation Army (TNLA) to mark the United Nations' anti-drug trafficking day.

They are being held under the restrictive junta-era Unlawful Associations Act. This law has been used to punish journalists for being in contact with people deemed by authorities to be "harmful to rule of law and peace and stability" - a broad and subjective category.

In the course of their normal work, journalists must be able to speak and meet with a variety of people without fear of arrest or harassment -- even those governments or security agencies may deem unsavory or hostile.

The TNLA is one of over a dozen ethnic minority armed groups who for decades have been fighting the central government. Journalists need to contact all parties in Myanmar's ethnic conflicts if they are to tell the story properly. Most of Myanmar's armed ethnic groups are now involved in peace talks organised by the government.

Despite the recent election of a civilian government, Myanmar remains a hostile place for journalists to operate. Defamation suits and Section 66(d) of the Telecommunications Act have been increasingly used to thwart penetrating journalism or compel self-censorship.

The Myanmar military should release the three journalists in question, and the civilian government of Aung San Suu Kyi should set about reforming laws that inhibit good journalism in the public interest.

COMMENT: Access to Burma's rebel armies, notable to the Karen National Liberation, Mon State, and Shan State armies has traditionally been through the Thai border. I have been many times. Seems like there is less fun day by day for journos in Burma and Thailand. Mind you the west has entered Burma with its usual business zeal even though the military is still repressing the country's minorities.


leave Thailand to the Thais said...

Aung San Su seems to be at ease with the Junta and has not been the force everyone thought she was going to be. Granted, she liberated the people and gave them freedom.A proper State needs put in place for Ethnic minority groups or the war will never end.Britain should now press to fulfil this and help free the people who helped them defeat the Japanese. Promised a free Karen State but abandoned

Tim said...

Plus ├ža change

leave Thailand to the Thais said...

Andrew. Any news on the koh Tao suicide. It's getting beyond a joke now.
The F.O. must take some responsibility on foreigners visiting this place

Trollmeister General said...

AD - I would like to endorse LTTTT's request for an update here.
You also stated, on another post, that you would provide an update on the case of the 2 Chinese-American punks who beat up another American over girlfriend affairs in Thailand.

Andrew Drummond said...

My apologies in terms of the Chinese American punks. The case was lost. I do not know what direction its going now and the mother was asking to hold on publicity. I'll check.

Suicide in Koh Tao. You mean the latest suicide by the Belgian girl. Or which Brit suicide do u mean? Due to my recent move I have not been tuned in to the Belgian case and thus have held back

leave Thailand to the Thais said...

Yes the Belgian girl. Surely some International body needs to start sanctions if they close their doors to democracy. Thailand is no better than North Korea when it comes to free speech and human rights

Andrew Drummond said...

But I am rather cautious about the Belgian woman story knowing the source. The story has been clearly spun a bit and there is something missing from the main complainant, the mother. What concerns me is that is this story turns out to have been majorly hyped, and I hope that is not true, it will discredit foreign journalists in Thailand. It was widely used in the UK and on websites, from the same source with no independent newspaper checking.