Myanmar military-controlled media outlets have announced a ban on satellite TV dishes, saying foreign broadcasts threaten national security as generals who seized power in a coup on February 1 accused a Japanese journalist of spreading fake news.
“Satellite TV is no longer legal. Anyone who violates the law on television and video, especially people who use satellite dishes, will be sentenced to one year in prison and fined 500,000 kyat ($ 320), ”state television station MRTV said on Tuesday.
“Illegal media spread news that harms national security, the rule of law and public order, and encourages those who betray.”
Generals led by army chief Min Aung Hlaing were arrested on February 1 when elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi and members of his government seized power, ending Myanmar’s slow progress towards democracy.
Verified: Mobile data is cut off #Myanmar For 50 days and online platforms remain very limited restricting press freedom at a critical time for the country’s future 📵#WorldPressFreedomDay Day#What’s going on in Myanmar
– NetBlocks (@netblocks) May 3, 2021
The country has been in turmoil since then as more than 760 people have been killed as security forces struggle to remove daily demonstrations against their authority.
They have cut off Internet access, forced the closure of independent media and arrested journalists. At least 50 are currently under arrest.
Japanese journalist Yuki Kitazumi, who was arrested for the second time last month, was indicted on Monday.
Kitazumi is the first foreign journalist to be delayed since the coup. A Polish photographer arrested while protesting in March was released and deported after being detained for almost two weeks.
Japan, which has been a major donor to Myanmar for years, is demanding the release of Kitazumi.
“Naturally, we will continue our efforts to release the celebrating Japanese national as soon as possible,” Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi told Japanese journalists during a trip to Britain, according to the national broadcaster NHK.
Pro-democracy rallies have continued despite efforts by the military to disrupt the opposition.
Demonstrators gathered in Mandalay on Tuesday, the second largest city in Myanmar, and reopened in June when education workers called for a boycott of schools and universities, the Myanmar Now news agency reported.
Local media reported that at least five people were killed by a package bomb on Tuesday, including a lawmaker in power and three police officers who joined the civil disobedience movement against the military government.
Meanwhile, the Chinland Defense Forces, a newly formed militia in the state of Chin bordering India, said on its Facebook page on Tuesday that its forces had killed at least four Myanmar army soldiers and wounded 10 in an incident last night.
The Myanmar army did not comment on the claim.
Citizens have found the body of a local military administrator named in the northwestern region of Sagaing, DVB independent television reported, the day after another local official was stabbed to death in the largest city in Yangon.
Reuters news agency was unable to comment to local police.
The military has defended its defense of power, accusing it of fraud in the November elections, in a landslide won by Aung San Suu Kyi’s party, and denouncing the protesters as rebels and terrorists.