The International Press Institute (IPI), a global network of editors, media executives and leading journalists for press freedom, today vehemently condemned the arrest of U.S. journalist Danny Fenster by the authorities in Myanmar and demanded his immediate release and that of all other journalists arrested so far.
Fenster, an American journalist who works as a managing editor for the independent outlet Frontier Myanmar, a news and business magazine based in Yangon, was arrested at the city’s airport on May 24 as he was boarding a flight to leave the country, according to media reports.
“IPI calls on the immediate release of Danny Fenster. His arrest demonstrates, once again, that neither local nor foreign journalists are safe from arbitrary arrest in Myanmar”, IPI Executive Director Barbara Trionfi said. “The international community must respond forcefully to the increase in detentions, violence and intimidation of journalists in Myanmar in recent weeks, which represents an unacceptable attack on press freedom.”
In a statement, Frontier Myanmar said: “We do not know why Danny was detained and have not been able to contact him since this morning. We are concerned for his wellbeing and call for his immediate release. Our priorities right now are to make sure he is safe and to provide him with whatever assistance he needs.”
The news outlet said it understands Fenster is now being held at the notorious Insein Prison near Yangon.
Other foreign journalists have been arrested previously or been forced to leave the country after having their accreditation revoked. Among them are Polish journalist Robert Bociaga, who was expelled from Myanmar, and Japanese journalist Yuki Kitazumi, who was recently deported to his home country.
Since the military coup in Myanmar in early February, the regime has shut down several media houses and arrested at least 85 journalists, of whom 49 remain behind bars.