Police raid office of ethnic Chin media outlet

The junta’s police force raided The Hakha Post, an ethnic media outlet based in Chin State, on Saturday, the publication’s editor said. 

Police officers broke into the organisation’s office in the state capital of Hakha at around 10am on April 3, editor Pu Thawng reported. He added that no staff members were present at the time of the raid; they had cleared out after Myanmar’s February 1 military coup.  

“We had predicted the raid since early February so we managed to escape in advance. We took over half of our [office] property,” he said. “Two computers were taken [in the raid], I heard. But only one of them was in good condition. They also took a pile of documents in a white sack.”

The raid of the Hakha Post comes amid an intensified crackdown by the regime’s armed forces on anti-coup movements in neighboring Sagaing and Magwe regions, where many ethnic Chin communities have been defending themselves against the junta’s violence.

The Hakha Post focuses on producing regional news and publishes articles in the Hakha Chin language. While it has ceased printing daily newspapers, it has continued online publication. 

“Since the last week of March, we have not been able to publish newspapers safely. It was not safe for our reporters [to gather news], so we stopped the print edition. We have arranged to continue producing news online from a safe place,” Pu Thawng told Myanmar Now.

Chin State is home to multiple local media outlets, including Chin World, The Hakha Times, The Hakha Post, Khonumthung News, and Zalen Media. 

According to Detained Journalists Information Myanmar, a Facebook group run by journalists and writers, more than 56 journalists have been arrested or targeted for arrest since the coup. 

Around 28 reporters have been released from regime custody, but, at the time of reporting, the rest remained in prison. Many have been charged with violating Section 505a of the Penal Code, which carries a prison sentence of up to three years for causing fear, spreading fake news or agitating against government employees. 

The junta has also brought a case under the same law against Yangon-based media outlet The Irrawaddy News for showing “disregard” for the armed forces in its reporting of anti-regime protests.

Five publications, including Myanmar Now and Mizzima, had their offices raided and their publishing licences revoked in early March by the ruling junta.


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