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Vietnamese blogger has vanishes in Thailand – Radio Free Asia

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PHOTO: Một Góc Nhìn Khác

A Vietnamese blogger,Truong Duy Nhat, working for Radio Free Asia, has vanished after fleeing to Thailand.

The news organisation has voiced its concerns today as rights activists share their fear that he had been abducted.

AFP reports that Truong Duy Nhat, a weekly blogger for the Vietnamese service of Radio Free Asia, which aims to provide news to countries that lack press freedom, last made contact with editors on January 26, a day after he applied for refugee status with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees in Bangkok.

The Radio Free Asia president, Libby Liu said, “We are extremely concerned about the safety and wellbeing of Truong Duy Nhat.”

The press freedom group Reporters Without Borders is now calling on Thailand to investigate, saying the case sent an “absolutely terrifying” message to the Vietnamese blogging community who have based themselves out of Bangkok.

If Thai authorities turn up nothing, “that means that Vietnamese agents no longer bother with international law and violate the sovereignty of a partner country to hunt down critical voices”, said Daniel Bastard, an Asia expert for Reporters Without Borders.

Read the rest of the story HERE.

 

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Thailand

Thai government looks into “humanitarian solution” for detained reporters from Myanmar

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Stock photo via National News Bureau of Thailand

Following the arrest of 3 journalists from a Myanmar news agency and 2 activists, who all face deportation and charges for entering Thailand illegally, the Thai government says they’re looking for a “humanitarian solution.”

Following the February military coup, the junta attempted to silence the media by revoking licenses allowing outlets to report and arresting journalists.

The editor and director of the broadcast news outlet Democratic Voice of Burma, where the 3 reporters worked, called on Thai authorities to not send the journalists back to Myanmar. The news outlet had its license revoked by the military junta. Director says the reporters “life will be in serious danger if they were to return.”

Thailand’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Tanee Sangrat recently told reporters that Thai authorities “are coordinating to find a possible humanitarian solution to this case.”

The reporters and activists were arrested in Chiang Mai’s San Sai district for allegedly entering Thailand illegally. The district police chief told Reuters that they would be deported, but they may possibly be held in detention for a 14 day quarantine as a precaution to prevent the spread of Covid-19 before being handed over to immigration.

DVB started as an exile media outlet, reporting on the previous junta and broadcasting uncensored reports. It then moved into Myanmar in 2012. The outlet’s broadcast license was revoked in March, a month after the recent military coup, but DVB continued to report on the protests and military takeover.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

 

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Thailand

3 journalists from Myanmar arrested in Chiang Mai

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Stock photo / Photo by Macau Photo Agency for Unsplash

Police in Northern Thailand arrested 3 senior journalists who had fled Myanmar due to orders from the military junta to stop reporting, the director and editor of the news agency Democratic Voice of Burma said in an email to the Associated Press.

The journalists, along with 2 associates, were arrested yesterday in Chiang Mai for allegedly illegally entering Thailand. Police were doing a random search, the editor says.

Since the February military coup in Myanmar, ousting state counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi who had won the election in a landslide, more than 750 people have been killed by security forces. The military takeover also led to a clash with ethnic armies who support the anti-coup movement, including the prominent armed wing of the Karen National Union. Around 2,000 Karen refugees have fled to Thailand’s Mae Hong Son province due to violence between the Karen troops and the state military.

The junta has attempted to silence independent news media by arresting dozens of journalists and by revoking licenses that had allowed agencies to report in Myanmar. The Foreign Correspondents Club of Thailand, or FCCT, says more than 70 journalists have been arrested since February. The Associated Press says there are currently around 40 journalists in detention in Myanmar, including at least 2 that work for DVB.

Many of the journalists arrested by the military junta are being held for violating Myanmar’s Penal Code which prohibits comments that “cause fear,” spread “false news, agitates directly or indirectly a criminal offence against a Government employee.” The charge carries a punishment of up to 3 years in prison.

The editor of DVB is urging Thai authorities not to deport the detained journalists and activists, saying “their life will be in serious danger if they were to return.” Photos in Thai media shows what looks like a video production studio set up at a home.

“They have been covering the demonstrations in Burma until March 8 – the day the military authority revoked DVB’s TV license and banned DVB from doing any kind of media work.”

The FCCT also released a statement calling on Thai authorities to release the journalists and offer them protection in Thailand.

These 5 individuals would face certain arrest and persecution, if not worse, for their work and association with the DVB, and under no circumstances should they be deported back to Myanmar.

Rather, the DVB journalists and their associates should be released from detention, urgently offered protection, and granted the right to remain temporarily in Thailand.

SOURCE: Associated Press

 

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

National lockdown in Malaysia as Covid-19 infections surge

Maya Taylor

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PHOTO: Flickr/Dennis Sylvester Hurd

Malaysia has gone into full national lockdown amid a surge in Covid-19 infections, including highly contagious variants that are putting the healthcare system under pressure. According to Thai PBS World, the Malaysian PM, Muhyiddin Yassin, has announced a ban on social gatherings and inter-state and inter-district travel.

“Malaysia is facing a third wave of Covid-19 that could trigger a national crisis.”

Schools and other educational institutions are shut, but Muhyiddin says some economic sectors can continue operating. The lockdown is in force until June 7, with the PM saying the presence of new and highly contagious variants that put pressure on the health system mean there is no other choice.

Malaysia has seen a spike in infections in recent weeks and has now reported 444,484 cases and 1,700 deaths. Yesterday, it reported 3,807 new cases. Last week, the country recorded its first case of the so-called Indian variant, or B.1.617.1, which was found in an Indian national at Kuala Lumpur International Airport. Malaysia remains under the state of emergency introduced in January to curb the spread of the virus.

SOURCE: Thai PBS World

 

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