Geneva, 12 February 2024:  Press Emblem Campaign (PEC), the global media safety and rights body has condemned the murder of Myanmar journalist Ko Myat Thu Tun (alias Phoe Thiha) along with six other political prisoners by the military junta under their custody. It came to public notice only after the Arakan Army, a Rakhine-based ethnic armed group captured  Mrauk-U township from the junta forces and discovered their bodies, reported local media.

According to a statement issued by the Arakan Army, most of the deceased were under forties and the exact dates of their killing are yet to be confirmed. A former reporter for the Democratic Voice of Burma,
Myat Thu Tun also contributed under the name of Phoe Thiha to other media outlets like 7Day News Journal, The Voice, Development Media Group, etc. Another victim  Ko Kyaw Zan Wai was an active social media user, who often posted humorous content about the junta.

“It’s shocking that the Rakhine journalist was murdered by the junta soldiers when he was under their custody. The frustrated military junta, which is facing offensives from a number of armed groups with
failures in many battles, must respect the civilian’s rights. For any reason, the Min Aung Hlaing-led military regime in Naypietaw should be allowed to kill a media person. We demand a fair probe into the
incident to bring the military dictators under the international criminal laws,” said PEC president Blaise Lempen.

PEC’s Southeast Asia representative informed that Myat Thu Tun along with other six civilians was seemingly killed on  31 January by two soldiers belonging to the 378th Light Infantry Battalion as they faced the AA offensive in Mrauk-U locality in western Myanmar.  The bodies were also buried in a bomb shelter near the township hospital. Shockingly, the junta has not issued any statement on the incident and hence the family was unaware of the death of Myat Thu Tun, who was arrested from his residence a few months back.