Not long after enjoying their first taste of freedom, Myanmar’s journalists say they are barely able to function, as the soldiers who toppled the country’s democratically elected government three months ago have moved to choke off the flow of information through intimidation, arrests, and violence.
In interviews with Radio Free Asia, or RFA, multiple reporters, editors, and photographers — speaking from hiding and on condition of anonymity to protect their safety — say the junta that deposed Aung San Suu Kyi and her government on Feb. 1 has made it dangerous and difficult to gather news about the biggest story of their lives.
The media professionals cite a litany of measures — including internet and satellite blackouts, confiscation of mobile phones, closures of independent media outlets, beatings, and arrests — that the military regime is using to thwart them and to scare off sources from talking to media.
“Journalists are living in fear because there is no safety for us,” a senior editor from a Myanmar news agency told RFA’s Myanmar Service this week.
“Many reporters have been arrested. Some of us have been barred from reporting,” the editor said.
“We cannot contact any of our sources due to the internet blackout, we cannot make phone calls effectively and we cannot carry our mobile phones as we travel,” the editor said.
“If they check Facebook accounts, the journalists will be arrested one way or another. We cannot carry any reporting…