On Wednesday, a U.S. State Department official asked for the immediate release of two American journalists detained by Myanmar’s military junta.
Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman expressed great concern over the detention of Danny Fenster and Nathan Maung and requested that they be released and allowed to return home.
“A free and independent media is indispensable to build prosperous, resilient and free societies. The detention of Daniel and Nathan, as well as arrests and use of violence by the Burmese military against other journalists, constitutes an unacceptable attack on the freedom of expression in Burma,” Sherman said.
Danny Fenster, 37, the managing editor of the news and business journal Frontier Myanmar, was apprehended on June 24 at Yangon International Airport as he was about to board an aircraft to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on his way to his family in the Detroit area.
According to the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists, Maung and Myanmar citizen Hanthar Nyein, co-founders of the Myanmar news website Kamayut Media, were detained on March 9. The committee said, that Maung and Hanthar had been physically abused during their first two weeks of imprisonment.
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Two other international journalists have been detained by the military junta that took control in February after deposing Aung San Suu Kyi’s elected administration. Freelancers Robert Bociaga from Poland and Yuki Kitazumi from Japan have been deported.
Myanmar’s Assistance Association for Political Prisoners said that almost 90 journalists have been detained since the army’s takeover, with more than half still imprisoned and 33 in hiding.
The association keeps a precise account of arrests and fatalities since the military takeover, more than 4,400 individuals are being detained, with 110 already condemned.
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