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Press Leaders to Myanmar: Release Jailed American Journalists

June 2nd, 2021  •  Author:   The National Press Club  •  3 minute read
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WASHINGTON, D.C., June 2, 2021-The National Press Club and the National Press Club Journalism Institute urged the junta in Myanmar to promptly release from prison all journalists jailed there, including at least two Americans.

Danny Fenster and Nathan Maung are the American journalists known to be detained in Myanmar, formerly known as Burma, which has been wracked by unrest since a February coup.

The National Press Club President Lisa Nicole Matthews and NPC Journalism Institute President Angela Greiling Keane issued the following statement: “We call on the government of Myanmar to release all wrongly imprisoned people, including journalists Danny Fenster and Nathan Maung, two Americans who have done nothing wrong. Journalism is not a crime.”

Fenster, a native of the Detroit area, is the managing editor of Frontier Magazine in Myanmar. He was detained May 24 at Yangon International Airport just minutes before boarding a flight to Kuala Lumpur to start a planned trip back to the United States to surprise his parents, who had not seen him in three years.

Fenster is being held at Yangon prison, a detention facility known for rampant human rights abuses. He has not been charged with any crime and has not been granted access to legal representation. Fenster’s family has since launched a social media campaign for his immediate release: #BringDannyHome.

Maung and Myanmar national Hanthar Nyein, co-founders of the Myanmar news website Kamayut Media, were arrested on March 9, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists. Maung and Hanthar were physically abused during interrogations when they were first detained, CPJ said.

Approximately 90 journalists have been arrested since the coup, according to Myanmar’s Assistance Association for Political Prisoners. More than half of those journalists are still in jail, and an estimated 33 are in hiding, the group says.

The jailed journalists are among more than 4,400 people imprisoned since the coup, the association estimates.

The association also calculates that more than 820 people have been killed in Myanmar amid the unrest, and some 5,400 others have been arrested.

Founded in 1908, The National Press Club is the world’s leading professional organization for journalists. The Club has 3,000 members representing nearly every major news organization and is a leading voice for press freedom in the United States and around the world.

The National Press Club Journalism Institute, the Club’s non-profit affiliate, promotes an engaged global citizenry through an independent and free press and equips journalists with skills and standards to inform the public in ways that inspire civic engagement.

Contact: John Donnelly, NPC Press Freedom Team Chairman: [email protected] 202-650-6738.

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