In a statement on 17 December, the Embassy of Sweden Section Office in Yangon said that free media is essential for the protection of human rights while expressing concern over the recent rise of attacks against the media in Myanmar.
The statement reads:
Ko Soe Naing, a freelance photographer was arrested in Yangon on Human Rights Day, December 10, and was found dead in custody three days later. Also on December 10, three Kambawza Tai journalists in Shan State were sentenced to 3-year-imprisonment each for allegedly spreading misinformation under the Article 505(a) of the Penal Code.
On December 11, a DVB journalist was arrested at home in Wetlet Township of Sagaing Region. More than 120 journalists have been arrested in Myanmar since the military coup on February 1, and 58 are still languishing behind bars.
Free media is a cornerstone in a democratic society and essential for the protection of human rights. Recent banning of independent media houses, threats, harassment, and arrests of journalists in Myanmar are unacceptable and a direct violation of the freedom of expression. When journalists are silenced, human rights are violated and the democratic space shrinks.
Sweden stands up for the freedom of expression and free media worldwide and in Myanmar. We urge the relevant authorities in Myanmar to guarantee human rights, stop the attacks on media, and release all political prisoners including journalists.