Dhaka: Asia-Pacific Forum of Environmental Journalists (APFEJ), while appreciating the Myanmar police for arresting three persons suspecting their role in the murder of Soe Moe Tun on 13 December last, urged the authority for stringent action against the culprits.
The scribe’s forum argued that killing a journalist because of his reporting on environmental issues must not be ignored as it is against the Mother Nature.
It may be mentioned that the Sagaing region based Burmese journalist was targeted by the goons for his extensive investigation & coverage over the wood smuggling, illegal logging and mining in northwest Myanmar. The reporter, engaged with Daily Eleven newspaper, recently posted in his facebook account some details about the people involved with timber trades in his locality.
Soe Moe Tun (35) left behind his wife and a minor son. The family source claimed that he was popular in his locality with no enmity to anyone. Hence, they believe he was killed because of his works and that must be adored by the authority.
Myanmar, which possesses some of the most important biodiversity areas in the world, also faces massive deforestations because of its prized teak wood. The southeast Asian country has lost two million hectares of its intact forest cover to illegal logging. The destruction of forests have implicated in rare wildlife species, including snub-nosed monkeys.
Myanmar, which has recently adopted a multi-party democracy after decades of military rule, is yet to improve the safety & security scenario for working journalists. The idea of freedom of the press is new in the country, which is still identified as one of the most censored countries in the globe.
According to the New York based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), not less than five reporters were murdered in Myanmar with impunity since 1999. Earlier the country lost Aung Kyaw Naing (also known as Ko Par Gyi in 2014), Kenji Nagai (2007), Hla Han & Tha Win (1999). The CPJ also asked the government in NayPieTaw to investigate the murder of Soe Moe Tun and punish the perpetrators.
Myanmar Journalist Network (MJN), in a statement condoled the demise of the young journalist and urged the authority to investigate his death as a murder. The MJN revealed that Soe Moe Tun used to receive threats from the illegal logging traders prior to his death.
“Killing of a scribe is a serious offence, but the assassination of an environmental journalist should be recognized a major crime both against humanity and nature. We demand a fair probe into Soe Moe Tun’s murder and visible punishment to the culprits,” said an APFEJ statement.
Issued by the APFEJ chairman Quamrul Chowdhury and secretary Nava Thakuria, the statement also appealed to the Burmese government virtually led by Nobel laureate Daw Aung San Suu Kyi to adequately compensate the family of the slain journalist and take care of his eight years old son in pursuing proper education.
Asia-Pacific Forum of Environmental Journalists (APFEJ)