Myanmar accuses Japanese journalist of spreading fake news – Boston News, Weather, Sports

BANGKOK (AP) — A Japanese video journalist who was arrested in Myanmar while covering a brief pro-democracy protest march has been charged with violating a law against the dissemination of false or alarming news, the Southeast Asian country’s military government said on Thursday .

Toru Kubota, a Tokyo-based documentary filmmaker, was arrested by plainclothes police on Saturday after snapping pictures of the protest.

He is the latest of about 140 journalists arrested since the military took power from Aung San Suu Kyi’s elected government last year. More than half have been released, but strict restrictions remain on the media.

A military information bureau, the Tatmadaw True News Information Team, said in a statement that Kubota faces charges of sedition, specifically causing fear, spreading false news or inciting hate speech against a government official. There is a risk of imprisonment of up to three years. Most jailed journalists in Myanmar have been charged under the same law.

Kubota is also charged with visa violations. The statement said Kubota arrived in Yangon on July 1 on a tourist visa from Thailand.

Kubota is the fifth foreign journalist to be arrested in Myanmar, after US citizens Nathan Maung and Danny Fenster, who have worked for local publications, and freelancers Robert Bociaga from Poland and Yuki Kitazumi from Japan. They were all eventually deported.

The army takeover was met by widespread peaceful protests, which were crushed with deadly force. The opposition continues with peaceful lightning protests in towns and cities and armed resistance in the countryside.

According to a detailed report by the Political Prisoners’ Relief Association, at least 2,148 civilians have been killed and 14,970 arrested by the security forces since the military took power.

The military statement said Kubota was arrested in Yangon’s South Dagon township while taking photos and video of 10 to 15 protesters. He confessed to the police that he had contacted protesters the day before to arrange a shoot.

The statement made no mention of where he is being held. Two protesters at Saturday’s demonstration were also arrested, according to protest organizers, but there was no comment on them from the military.

Japanese Deputy Chief of Cabinet Seiji Kihara said Monday that “a Japanese male citizen in his 20s” was arrested on Saturday while filming a demonstration in Yangon, and Japanese embassy officials have requested his early release.

Friends of Kubota in Japan called for his immediate release on Wednesday, and an online petition has gathered more than 41,000 signatures calling for his release.

Kubota, 26, a graduate of Tokyo’s Keio University with a master’s degree from the University of the Arts London, has commissioned Yahoo! News Japan, Vice Japan and Al Jazeera English.

His work focuses on ethnic conflict, immigration and refugee issues, including the plight of Myanmar’s persecuted Rohingya Muslim minority.

(Copyright (c) 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, transcribed, or redistributed.)

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https://whdh.com/news/myanmar-charges-japanese-journalist-with-spreading-fake-news/ Myanmar accuses Japanese journalist of spreading fake news – Boston News, Weather, Sports

Nate Jones

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