FCC Statement on Unjust Sentencing of Myanmar Photojournalist Sai Zaw Thaike
|The Foreign Correspondents’ Club, Hong Kong calls for the release of Sai Zaw Thaike, a photojournalist unjustly sentenced to a lengthy prison term by a military court in Myanmar.
|Sai Zaw Thaike was sentenced on Sept. 6 to 20 years in prison with hard labor for his coverage of the aftermath of a deadly cyclone in Rakhine State. He was covering the disaster for independent news outlet Myanmar Now when he was arrested in May and charged with various infractions, including sedition, which carried sentences varying from one to 20 years.
|Myanmar Now said the number of charges on which he was convicted is unclear and that Sai Zaw Thaike was provided with no legal representation throughout his detention.
|His arrest and conviction are an apparent act of retribution and intimidation aimed at Myanmar Now, which was banned shortly after Myanmar’s military staged its 2021 coup. Myanmar Now continued to operate from exile, providing independent coverage of the aftermath of the coup despite the regime’s efforts to crack down on free press. Since the coup, dozens of journalists have been arrested and four media personnel have been killed.
|The FCC stands in solidarity with Myanmar Now and urges the release of Sai Zaw Thaike. All journalists should be able to cover stories without fear of harassment or arrest.