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Attacks on journalists in Myanmar highlight complications, dangers for the media


The murder of a Burmese reporter investigating illegal logging and the roadside beating of another, both in Myanmar earlier this week, have raised new fears about media safety in the country.

Soe Moe Tun, a 37 year-old Burmese reporter with Daily Eleven newspaper, was found “severely beaten” to death by the side of a highway near the town of Monywa in Myanmar’s central Sagaing region on Dec. 13. Police are investigating his murder but robbery doesn’t appear to be the motive: his valuables were found at the crime scene.

Kyaw Zaw Linn is editor-in-chief at Eleven Media, which owns Daily Eleven. He said in an interview with Mongabay that Soe Moe Tun was the newspaper’s only reporter based in Monywa and had never mentioned any security concerns. The Sagaing region is well known as a hub for illegal logging that operates in spite of a logging ban that’s been in effect for most of 2016. Soe Moe Tun had reported twenty stories for the outlet since January 2015 and was the father of an eight year-old boy.

It’s not the first time the outlet has been targeted.

“This case shows that, we journalists have to care and be careful about everything, especially our safety,” said Linn. “Last year, our CEO U Than Htut Aung was attacked on July 14 in front of our office building and now he is waiting for the defamation trial.” He added that despite the apparent risks, other reporters with the media group will continue their work.

“We are scared of what happened to Soe Moe Tun, but we are journalists, we have chosen our profession, so we are not afraid (of doing our job).”

Read more at Mongabay