Myanmar’s Military Council announced it has revoked the licenses of five independent media companies in the nation amid reports of armed men ransacking the offices of one of the outlets and the arrest of an editor covering anti-coup protests.
Myanmar’s state media reported that the five media companies were Myanmar Now, Khit Thit media, Democratic Voice of Burma (DVB), Mizzima, and 7 Day. DVB, Mizzima and 7 Day are VOA affiliates.
The bans affected conventional publications and television, as well as digital platforms.
All of the outlets had been extensively covering the ongoing anti-coup protests.
From his Facebook page Monday, Mizzima Editor-in-Chief Soe Myint condemned the action and said Mizzima would continue to fight against the military coup and for the restoration of democracy by publishing and broadcasting through a variety of media platforms, including Facebook.
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Meanwhile, the VOA Burmese service reports armed men in five military trucks raided the offices of Myanmar Now on Monday. No staff members were in the offices, as they were working remotely because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Witnesses say the men took documents with them when they left.
The Burmese service also confirmed reports that Sai Zin DD Zon, chief editor of the Eastern Review, was arrested Monday in the capital of Shan State, Taunggyi, while covering protests there. He reported he was released after signing a statement promising not to take photos of the protests again. His camera equipment was returned, but he said the memory cards were missing.
Large protests and strikes have been held daily across Myanmar since the military seized control of the government February 1. The military’s security forces have responded to the protests with mass arrests and increasingly with violence. The United Nations said the security forces have killed more than 50 people since the protests began.