With Myanmar’s press muzzled, experts warn of surge in environmental crimes

In the wake of the Feb. 1 military coup, Myanmar’s new regime leaders escalated their forceful crackdown on nationwide protests with sweeping restrictions on the media, severely curtailing independent journalism in particular.

Authorities have stripped at least seven local media outlets of their licenses, enforced strict censorship of satellite television, and limited access to the country for international reporters. Widespread internet restrictions imposed immediately after the coup are largely still in place.

Reporters and photographers are also being detained.

As of late July, 98 journalists had been arrested, 46 of whom remained imprisoned and six had been convicted, according to the most recent information available from U.S.-based right group Human Rights Watch (HRW). Five convictions were under a new provision of the Myanmar penal code that makes it a crime to publish or circulate comments that the regime deems to “cause fear” or spread “false news.”

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Carolyn Cowan