Alliance of Independent Journalists (AJI) Indonesia and Malaysia's Gerakan Media Merdeka (Geramm) Urge Myanmar Authorities to Immediately Release Detained Journalists

A joint press statement by Alliance of Independent Journalists (AJI) Indonesia and Gerakan Media Merdeka (Geramm) on the current Myanmar situation



The Myanmar military has took over power in a military coup since February 1, 2021, sparking anti-coup protests across the country. Under the military rule, Myanmar police have arrested at least 22 journalists, including 6 journalists from Associated Press journalists, Myanmar Now, Myanmar Photo Agency, 7Day News, Zee Kwet Online news, and a freelancer.
The arrested journalists are facing up to three years in prison after authorities accused them of violating a public order law against spreading "false news" that caused public fear. The Myanmar military
has also limited and blocked internet access and communication in several areas.
According to the The Assistance Association for Political Prisoners, a human rights organisation, more than 1,200 citizens and activists have been detained as of March 3. Around 900 persons remained in prison, while 38 were shot to death. The number of victims might continue to rise given the military's of ignoring international pressures.
There is a long list of human rights abuses surrounding violences in Myanmar, which has also threatened democracy as a foundation of the state. The arrest of journalists is also a direct assault on freedom of the press and public's rights to information. Violence against journalists has limited the access of public in the country and abroad to gain information about Myanmar. Therefore, AJI Indonesia and Geramm releases these calls:
  1. We urge the Myanmar authority to release all detained journalists and end the violence against journalists who are only doing their jobs. Every journalist and media worker have the right to work on the field without fear.
  2. We urge the Myanmar authority to stop violence that has caused casualties on the part of Myanmar civilians who are defending democracy in the country. The military coup and violences might also threaten the stability of the South East Asia region.
  3. We call upon the Indonesian and Malaysian government to work together with Asean countries in order to support the United Nations to send its investigation team to Myanmar. The team is very essential to investigate and report the conditions in the country and end the violences.
Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur, March 5, 2021
Chairman of AJI Indonesia - Sasmito
General Secretary of AJI Indonesia - Ika Ningtyas
AJI Indonesia is a journalists organisation fighting for press freedom, increasing journalists and media workers' skills, and welfare of journalists. AJI has 1,846 members in 40 chapters. AJI Indonesia is a constituent of Indonesian Press Council and member of several international organizations, including International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), based in Brussels, Belgium; International Freedom of Expression Exchange (IFEX), based in Toronto, Canada: Global Investigative Journalism Network (GIJN), based in Maryland, AS: Forum Asia, based in Bangkok, Thailand; South East Asian Press Alliance (SEAPA), based in Bangkok.

Geramm is a loose coalition of journalists, media representatives and activists who are fighting for freedom of the press and its practitioners. Geramm is also member of the Freedom of Expression Cluster, comprising civil society groups working for freedom of the press and freedom of expression.

This press statement was published on Facebook