This annual report for 2023 covers some of the main developments, trends, and highlights relating to the safety of Myanmar journalists, as well as the news environment under the military regime. The first part of the report summarises events and issues in the fourth quarter of 2023.
As the coup of 1 February 2021 reaches its third anniversary, Myanmar’s military junta called the State Administration Council (SAC), and its security apparatus continue to repress independent media and other forms of open public discussion. Journalists inside Myanmar, including citizen journalists, operate in an environment where independent news work has become a difficult, dangerous, and life-threatening profession.
Over the last three years, the SAC has set up a system of restrictions on media, speech, and expression, including through judicial persecution through the use of the “law”, closure of media outlets and other publishing outlets, various forms of harassment (including online) by its proxies and supporters. At the same time, it allows pro-junta media outfits to operate in the country.
On 14 October 2023, Khin Maung Oo, a journalist who used to be with Eternally Peace News Network, was arrested and later reported by local media to be have been killed by members of an unknown armed organization in Mohnyin township, northern Kachin state.
Eternally Peace News Network is owned by the New Democratic Army – Kachin, an armed group that agreed to a ceasefire with the military junta back in 2009. Khin Maung Oo’s death was confirmed by local sources, but it remains unclear who or which group was responsible for his death.
In its report on the incident, the Kachin-based regional media outlet 74 Media quoted the editor
of Eternally Peace news as saying that Khin Maung Oo was no longer a staffer there at the time
of his death.