NEW DELHI: Press Emblem Campaign (PEC), the global media safety and rights body, expressed its dismay over the 11-year imprisonment of American journalist Danny Fenster by the military junta of Myanmar (also known as Burma and Brahmadesh) and demanded his immediate and unconditional release by the military dictators in Naypietaw.
Mentionable is that the US journalist was arrested on 24 May 2021 from Yangon (formerly Rangoon) International Airport as he was preparing to leave Myanmar for visiting his family in Detroit, Michigan. Since then, Danny (around 40 years old) has been imprisoned in Insein jail of Yangon, the former capital of Myanmar, as the scribe was repeatedly denied bail.
Lately, the military court inside the infamous prison, which otherwise enjoys little liberty in the military ruled south-east Asian nation, pronounced the verdict on 12 November to imprison Danny for 11 years against various charges of visa breaches, defaming the Burmese military personnel and also joining hands with unlawful elements. Conspiracy is seemingly hatched against Danny to keep him inside bars for whole life.
“It is frustrating that a professional journalist has been targeted with various baseless allegations and tried under the military court with no credibility. The military regime, led by Min Aung Hlaing, is trying its best to destroy the free press in Myanmar. They even dared to diktat the foreign media outlets to describe the military government properly,” said Blaise Lempen, general-secretary of PEC (www.pressemblem.ch/).
Danny becomes the third foreign journalist to be arrested by the military junta. Earlier they detained independent scribes Robert Bociaga from Poland and Yuki Kitazumi from Japan, who were later released and subsequently deported from Myanmar. Associated with Frontier Myanmar, a digital media outlet covering political affairs, business, environment, etc of Myanmar, Danny earlier worked for Myanmar Now, lately banned by the military regime.
Various international organisations have criticised the Burmese junta for fraudulently detaining the US journalist and demanded his urgent release. The US State Department in a statement issued from Washington commented that Danny’s sentence is ‘an unjust conviction of an innocent person’.
While condemning the decision, the United States asserted it will continue to work for Danny’s release so that he can return home safely. Speaking to PEC’s south-east Asia representative Nava Thakuria, a Burmese journalist claimed that the military generals after grabbing political power on 1 February last deposing Aung San Suu Kyi led National League for Democracy government, had imprisoned over 125 journalists, who supported the anti-junta movements across Myanmar. Nearly 50 among them are still behind bars, added the journalist who wanted anonymity.