crime

Japanese journalist indicted in Myanmar on 'fake news' charge

30 Comments

A Japanese freelance journalist detained by security forces in Myanmar since mid-April was indicted Monday on a charge of spreading what the military junta views as "fake news," the Japanese Embassy in the Southeast Asian country said.

Yuki Kitazumi, 45, could face a jail term of up to three years if convicted under the penal code as amended after the February coup.

Kitazumi was arrested and taken from his home in Myanmar's largest city Yangon on April 18. He is being held in a Yangon prison known for housing political prisoners.

The journalist has shown no health problems, an embassy official said, adding that the embassy will continue to urge the military government to release him.

His arrest came amid ongoing protests against the military, which took control of the government in a coup on Feb. 1 by ousting the civilian government led by Aung San Suu Kyi.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato, Japan's top government spokesman, demanded during a regular briefing on April 20 that the security forces in Myanmar release Kitazumi.

The journalist, who previously worked at the Tokyo-based Nikkei business daily, had covered anti-government protests and posted online through such means as social media information deemed to be critical of the military.

He was also briefly detained by security forces while covering a protest in Yangon on Feb 26.

© KYODO

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30 Comments
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So Kitazumi has become a hostage with the purpose of lowering the amount of pressure that Japan can apply, nevertheless this is not going to help the military appear as legitimate.

9 ( +11 / -2 )

"Fake News Charge" !!? sound like Mr. Trump dream has come true.

-1 ( +7 / -8 )

People wanted "spreading disinformation" to be a crime.

Careful what you wish for.

-5 ( +6 / -11 )

If you go to Myanmar you must respect their rules or pay the price.

international standards and human rights do not apply.

4 ( +11 / -7 )

I only wish there were more laws to counter this "fake news"

-Seemed like real reporting/blogging in this case. But the "Judge" must of ruled it as "fake news"

1 ( +5 / -4 )

"Fake News Charge" !!? sound like Mr. Trump dream has come true.

Not the biggest Trump fun, but you must be out of your mind. People like you are the reason powerful words/concepts are losing their meaning. Yes, America is a dictatorship, total autocracy, we are so oppressed, media is being crushed, we need to "resist" etc .... what a joke you people are.

3 ( +9 / -6 )

But the "Judge" must of ruled it as "fake news"

Are you surprised that different people have different interpretations of what constitutes "fake news"

You didn't anticipate that each government could use the "fake news" "disinformation" standard it's own way.

You're honestly surprised by that?

-4 ( +4 / -8 )

Japan will just pay them off.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

"Better call Don" - the "fake news" go-to guy!

But, seriously, it's time for the Japanese to pull their finger out and put meaningful economic pressure on the murderous Myanmar military as well as warning those unhelpful ASEAN countries to stop their clowning around with their transparent version of the "three monkeys" to appease that ruthless fascist regime .

5 ( +5 / -0 )

nevertheless this is not going to help the military appear as legitimate.

As both sides are basically corrupt, I think he choose the wrong side. Military usually have guns.

-5 ( +2 / -7 )

I do not have a link for this but the other day I read that he was quoting people from all different sides of the equation in Myanmar, in order to get a totally balanced view for his articles. It was clear that they were only second-hand quotes, and not his own opinion.

Some of the opposition quotes seem to have hit a raw nerve with the authorities, though, and since it was not the first time for him, he was arrested for spreading views that the military faction disliked.

If anyone has more detail, please feel free to adjust accordingly.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Reporters Without Borders, a French non-profit, a self-described "world’s biggest NGO specializing in the defense of media freedom," with a considerable membership and following, sent letters to companies with a presence in Myanmar last month, to urge them to stop all cooperation - including paying taxes - to the generalissimo and the Tatmadaw, citing their corporate "complicity" in the "repression . . . with more than 500 people killed and nearly 60 journalists arrested."

https://rsf.org/en/news/stop-funding-myanmars-generals-rsf-tells-10-multinationals

Now, if I was a journalist who was stationed anywhere in the time zone, let alone in Myanmar itself, and I heard that my fellow journalists were actively advocating serious economic steps against the juanta, even if it was for a humane purpose to get some fellows released from jail, I would certainly want to get as far away from all of it as soon as humanly possible.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

...an embassy official said, adding that the embassy will continue to urge the military government to release him

Good luck with that approach.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

They see Japan is so slow to re-act in a pandemic, they figure it'll be years before they get round to doing anything about Kitazumi

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Horrible Myanmar. Release the innocent journalist immediately or no more huge development money and investment from Japan in future.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Thanks a lot, Don. You’ve enabled every tin pot dictator while attacking the very notion of truth.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

I guess that's what happens if you don't like the election results, and if you've got the weaponry.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Some things never change. In furtherance of geopolitical strategy, pre-War Japan played an active role in fomenting Burmese political intrigue; courting Aung San Su Kyi’s father and other members of the Burmese elite, sponsoring them to visit Japan, undergo military training, and even take on Japanese names. Quick to change their spots when the tide of war turned, their descendants are still around, still susceptible to the blandishments of intriguers like Kitazumi in this Great Game redux.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

If you go to Myanmar you must respect their rules or pay the price.

international standards and human rights do not apply.

False. He was respecting their rules when he was working there. There was a sudden coup and he was arrested covering it. The current "leadership" is illegitimate and only ruling because they will put bullets in any one who resist, no matter gender or age. They also kidnap citizens, kill, and harvest organs, then return the bodies as a sort of terrorization.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

SkepticalToday 09:49 am JST

Reporters Without Borders, a [...] I would certainly want to get as far away from all of it as soon as humanly possible.

And go back home to report about the latest tuna sale ?

Journalists should be supported, how are we going to know what's going on in Myanmar ? Just through the gov propaganda and the filtered Internet ?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Glad this isn't allowed in the US... At worst, you'll be ridiculed by poorly chosen president.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Sadly, what happened to Kitazumi is one of the hazards of being a reporter covering volatile political events.

I mean, while that hazard increases in areas with little respect for rule of law, it exists even in Western countries.

Which is why the weaponization of terms like "fake news" is a danger in and of itself.

I hope something gets worked out to get him released.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Plenty of fake news around, but in this particular case I suspect that he rather is being detained for reporting some inconvenient truth.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Burning Bush

People wanted "spreading disinformation" to be a crime.

Careful what you wish for.

Lots of our "mainstream" journalists would be in jail in that case.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Since he has not actually committed a crime, I am surprised to find this article here in this section.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

nandakandamandaToday 07:24 pm JST

Since he has not actually committed a crime

covered anti-government protests and posted online through such means as social media information deemed to be critical of the military.

could face a jail term of up to three years if convicted under the penal code as amended after the February coup.

While they hold power, the military dictators write the laws that will suit them and use them to put anyone into prison they do not like.

Until the dictators are removed and replaced with the voted in legit government, they will continue to make laws to suit themselves to remain in power and remove any who opose them or report the truth to the world.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Their country, their rules. Isn't that Japan's motto?

1 ( +2 / -1 )

GdTokyo

Thanks a lot, Don. You’ve enabled every tin pot dictator while attacking the very notion of truth.

That would be Don Lemon? Much as I find CNN pathetic, I don´t think they ever cared much about Myanmar.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

This just in:

China, which holds this month's UNSC President's chair, and has a UNSC veto vote, has a UN Ambassador named Zhang Jun. He was interviewed on Monday.

Zhang, who described Myanmar as “a friendly neighbor,” strongly backed diplomatic efforts by . . . ASEAN and by U.N. special envoy for Myanmar Christine Schraner Burgener, and expressed hope they would produce results. He said “China is not in favor of imposing sanctions.”

“We should really be creating a more favorable environment for bringing the country back to normal and finding a political solution through dialogues among the relevant political parties within the constitutional and legal framework,” he said.

https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2021/may/3/chinas-un-envoy-myanmar-violence-could-lead-to-civ/?utm_source=RSS_Feed&utm_medium=RSS

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Eppee: Journalists should be supported

Support? Agreed.

But . . . station or assign journalists in Myanmar, after their support NGO issues press releases - on behalf of all ready imprisoned reporters - that was clearly designed to incense the junta? Putting journalists in harms way by demanding that they make immediate choices on the ground to report the "truth" by having to choose between the juanta's truth or the armed faction's truth? Both of which are backed by the immediate threat of lethal violence? Journalists simply disappearing in the Burma hills and jungles whenever they are believed to be inconveniently "spreading lies" by the many players? Or imprisonment or captivity of more journalists, leading to someone paying exorbitant ransoms to whomever is holding them at the time? Or having to further validate and legitimize the juanta by negotiating their release from military custody?

Journalists certainly need to - and should go - wherever their craft takes them. As long as it is informed consent as to the most uncertain outcomes within a rapidly deteriorating situation.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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