TLPU calls on Myanmar military to respect freedom of expression and freedom of the press

DILI (TOP) – The social media Twitter on Monday, February 1, 2021 was enlivened by a number of the most popular words, such as "Aung San Suu Kyi", "Myanmar", and "Rohingya".

A number of these keywords became trending after Myanmar's de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi and a number of senior figures from the National League for Democracy (NLD), including President Win Myint, were arrested on Monday, February 1, 2021.

The Timor-Leste Press Union (TLPU) is a journalist union in Timor-Leste which has more than 200 pure journalists and is also a full member of the International Federations of Journalists (IFJ) feel very concerned about the situation that is happening in Myanmar.

TLPU calls on the Myanmar military to respect the will of the Myanmar people in the November 2020 elections and protect all networks and journalists' associations in Myanmar.

“We are very concerned about the situation in Myanmar. We see that the actions of the Myanmar military are purely a violation of democracy, freedom of expression and freedom of the press,” TLPU Secretary General Horacio Babo told TOP today.

“We stand in solidarity with our colleagues in the Myanmar Journalists Association and extend our full support to them. Know that you are not alone,” Babo said.

Nobel laureate for peace José Ramos Horta also recommended full sanctions to the Myanmar military.

The organizations of the Freedom for Media, Freedom for All Netwok in the Philipines, view the actions of the military in Myanmar to reverse the electoral will of the people as a blatant attack on democratic rights and freedoms.

“We call on the military of Myanmar to respect freedom of the press and freedom of expression, and people’s basic civil rights”.

“We demand the rights and safety of journalists and media houses be upheld and protected at all times, and that nothing be done to hamper or prevent them from doing their work”.

Our concern stems from reports of journalists being assaulted and placed under surveillance by state forces in the days leading to the coup.

“We stand in solidarity with our colleagues in the Myanmar Journalists Association and extend our full support to them. Know that you are not alone”.

Meanwhile, according to the press release from IFJ that TOP accessed, Myanmar’s leader Aung San Suu Kyi, President Win Myint and other government leaders were detained on February 1 by the country’s military, who have seized power and declared a state of emergency for at least one year on the basis of allegations of voter fraud. The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) condemns the military’s interference in the democratic process and the severe implications for press freedom. 

At least a dozen soldiers and military vehicles took up positions outside City Hall in Yangon in the early morning, after politicians and prominent political activists were arrested in a series of raids across Myanmar. The coup comes after escalating tension between the powerful military and civilian government following the November general election.

Suu Kyi’s party, the National League for Democracy, won 396 seats out of 476 in the combined count of the upper and lower houses of Parliament. Myanmar’s Union Election Commission rejected the claims of voter fraud. 

Government spokesman Myo Nyunt confirmed several leaders had been detained and were expected to also be arrested.

“I want to tell our people not to respond rashly and I want them to act according to the law,” he said.

Hours later, Myanmar’s military television station, Myawaddy TV, announced that the military had taken control of Myanmar for one year, citing a section of the constitution that allows the military to seize power in periods of “national emergency”. First Vice President Myint Swe, a former military general, will serve as acting president, the broadcast said. 

The broadcast also said the military had seized power as a result of the government’s failure to act on the military’s claims of voter fraud in Myanmar’s election, and a failure to postpone the election because of the Covid-19 pandemic. The first session of Myanmar’s parliament was scheduled to begin on February 1.

statement issued on January 29 by a group of nations including the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand urged the military to “adhere to democratic norms” and expressed opposition to “any attempt to alter the outcome of the elections or impede Myanmar’s democratic transition”. 

Cyber security monitor Netblocks confirmed that internet connectivity in Myanmar fell to 50 per cent of normal levels, indicating a centrally issued telecoms blackout order. Myanmar’s state media network MRTV has been unable to broadcast since government figures were detained. 

The IFJ said:  “The reports of military imposition of power in Myanmar, with dramatic cuts to phone and internet access, gravely undermine press freedom in the nation. The IFJ opposes any alteration to the democratic process and condemns this attempt to impede the normal and free functioning of the media.”

Raimundos Oki
Author: Raimundos OkiWebsite: https://www.oekusipost.comEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Xefe Redasaun & Editor

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