Saturday, January 22

Myanmar junta bans satellite dishes in media crackdown | Myanmar

Myanmar’s military junta has banned satellite dishes, threatening prison terms for anyone who violates the measure, while intensifying its crackdown on access to independent media.

The junta, which faces unanimous opposition from the public and has struggled to maintain order, has imposed increasingly stringent restrictions on communications since taking power on February 1.

Mobile data has been cut off for most people for more than 50 days, while broadband access has also been subject to severe restrictions. Various media outlets have been banned, but they continue to operate underground, either posting online or broadcasting on television.

On Wednesday, Myanmar’s military-controlled Global New Light newspaper reported that news agencies were using illegal satellite dishes to broadcast programs that “harm the security of the state, the rule of law, and the peace and tranquility of the community. “. Anyone installing satellite dishes could face a one-year prison sentence or K500,000 ($ 320) as a fine, he said.

More than 80 journalists have been arrested in recent months, according to the independent news outlet Irrawaddy, which faces legal action under section 505 (a) of the Penal Code. This law establishes that the publication of information that causes fear or spreads false news is punishable by up to three years in prison.

On Monday, Yuki Kitazumi, a Japanese journalist, was charged under the same law, according to a report by the Kyodo news agency. Kitazumi became the first foreign reporter to face charges since the coup.

Thousands of people have been arrested under the board, including 3,677 people who have been convicted or are in custody, according to the advocacy group the Association for Assistance to Political Prisoners (AAPP). It reported that 769 people have been killed by the military.

Despite the risks of military violence, protesters have continued to gather to oppose the coup. Teachers, students and parents marched outside schools in Mandalay on Wednesday morning, according to local media, calling for a boycott of the education system under the junta. A candlelight vigil was held Tuesday night in the northern state of Kachin.

Earlier this week, five protesters were killed and another injured in an explosion in the southern Bago region. State media said the group was trying to plant a bomb and that Thet Win Hlaing, a 35-year-old former MP from Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD) party, was among those killed.

Several explosions have been reported in Yangon and other cities in recent weeks, including some targeting government and military properties.

On Tuesday, Myanmar’s ambassador to the United Nations told the US Congress to step up pressure on the military by imposing more targeted sanctions. Kyaw Moe Tun called for action against the state oil and gas company Maynamar, Myanmar Oil and Gas Enterprise, and the state bank Myanmar Foreign Trade Bank.

“I wish to emphasize that Myanmar is not only witnessing another major setback for democracy, but also the crisis is threatening regional peace and security,” he said.

The United States, along with several Western countries, has condemned the coup and imposed sanctions on the generals, as well as some of their families and companies.

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