Generals who seized power in a coup three months ago are trying to further isolate the country while remaining against their rule.
The military-controlled media in Myanmar have announced a ban on satellite television courts. Outside broadcasts threaten national security as the generals, who took power in a coup on February 1, accused a Japanese journalist of spreading false news.
“Satellite television is no longer legal. Anyone who violates the TV and Video Act, especially those who use satellite dishes, is punished with one year imprisonment and a fine of 500,000 kyat ($ 320), ”state television told MRTV on Tuesday.
“Illegal media broadcast messages that undermine national security, the rule of law and public order and encourage those who commit treason.”
The generals, led by Army Chief Min Aung Hlaing, arrested elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi and members of her government on February 1 as they came to power, and put an end to Myanmar’s sluggish progress towards democracy.
Confirmed: Mobile data has been truncated in #Myanmar for 50 days and online platforms remain severely restricted, restricting freedom of the press at a critical moment for the country’s future. # WorldPressFreedomDay # WhatsHappeningInMyanmar
📰https: //t.co/Jgc20OBk27 pic.twitter.com/3VIrbtJYkd
– NetBlocks (@netblocks) May 3, 2021
The country has been in turmoil ever since. More than 760 people were killed when security forces struggled to quell demonstrations against their rule on an almost daily basis.
They blocked mobile internet access, forced independent media outlets to shut down and arrest reporters. There are currently at least 50 people in custody.
Japanese journalist Yuki Kitazumi, who was arrested for the second time last month, was charged on Monday.
Kitazumi is the first foreign journalist to be charged since the coup. A Polish photographer arrested during a protest in March was released and deported after almost two weeks in detention.
Japan, a top donor to Myanmar for years, is pushing for Kitazumi to be released.
“Of course we will continue to do our best for the early release of the Japanese national,” Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi told Japanese journalists during a trip to the UK, according to national broadcaster NHK.
Japanese journalist Yuki Kitazumi was escorting a police station in Yangon when he was first arrested in February. He was accused of spreading false news [File: AP Photo]Despite the military’s efforts to stamp out the opposition, rallies for democracy continued.
Protesters gathered in Mandalay, Myanmar’s second largest city, on Tuesday, and education workers called for a boycott of schools and universities if they reopen in June, Myanmar Now news agency reported.
Local media reported that at least one package bomb killed five people on Tuesday, including a fallen lawmaker and three police officers who had joined the civil disobedience movement against military rule.
Meanwhile, the Chinland Defense Force, a newly formed militia in the Indian state of Chin, announced on its Facebook page on Tuesday that its armed forces had killed at least four Myanmar Army soldiers and wounded ten in an overnight clash.
The Myanmar army did not comment on the claim.
The villagers found the decapitated body of a military-appointed local administrator in the northwestern Sagaing region, the independent broadcaster DVB reported, the day after another local official was stabbed to death in the largest city, Yangon.
Reuters news agency was unable to reach the local police for comment.
The military has defended its takeover, claiming fraud in the November election, won by Aung San Suu Kyi’s party in a landslide, condemning protesters as rioters and terrorists.