Last Friday two journalists working for Turkish state media were arrested in Naypyitaw for flying a drone. Singaporean Lau Hon Meng and Malaysian Mok Choy Lin were arrested alongside local reporter and interpreter Aung Naing Soe and their driver driver Hla Tin. They had reportedly filmed the Hluttlaw building – the House of Representatives – before their arrest.
Authorities claim they are being held because they violated Section 8 of Myanmar’s Import Export Law by importing a drone without the correct paperwork. This carries a penalty of up to three years in jail. The pair’s Turkish employer states that they had the correct visa and that the ‘Myanmar Information Ministry was previously informed about all filming activities and the filming schedule.‘ This has been disputed by the authorities.
Press freedoms have been curtailed in Myanmar in recent months, as the Rohingya crisis continues. President Erdogan said that the violence amounted to genocide – a factor that has possibly influenced this arrest.
- The Sun Daily – Singapore embassy in contact with Myanmar authorities over detention of pixman
- Reuters – Detained journalists informed Myanmar of filming plans, Turkish broadcaster says
- Voice of America – Myanmar Police Detain 2 Journalists for Flying Drone Over Parliament Grounds
- The Straits Times – Malaysia’s foreign ministry confirms Malaysian journalist detained in Myanmar
- BBC – Myanmar: Foreign journalists charged over parliament drone flight
- Committee to Protect Journalists – Myanmar charges reporters with illegally importing drone
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