13 May 2009

Alert

Two American journalists deported


Incident details

Jerry Redfern, Karen Coates

journalist(s)

deported
(Mizzima/IFEX) - New Delhi, 12 May 2009 - Burma's military government has deported two American journalists who were teaching feature writing and photography to students in the country's second largest city of Mandalay.

Jerry Redfern and Karen Coates said they were arrested on the evening of 6 May 2009 in their hotel room in Mandalay and taken to Rangoon on a train, from where they were deported to Bangkok the following day.

In a statement, the two journalists admitted teaching Burmese students non-fiction feature writing and photography, under an arrangement facilitated by the American Center in Rangoon and approved by Burma's Press Scrutiny Board.

"We were arrested at our hotel after dinner on May 6 (. . .) They said they had received the arrest order from Naypyitaw half an hour after our last class and lecture had ended," the two said in a statement released from Bangkok.

Officials who came to arrest the two journalists gave no reasons for their arrest and appeared unaware of any specifics regarding the order, the two said. "They did not give a reason for the arrest. Many said they did not know why we were arrested. They asked us nothing, told us nothing, searched nothing, took nothing. We were not mistreated or manhandled," the two said.

"We are heartbroken to think we might not be able to return to Burma. But that is trivial compared to how we worry about the safety of the people who helped us on these trips," the two said.

While Redfern and Coates said they are unaware of the reasons for their deportation, in their statement they brushed off rumours calling them agents of the American Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). They also dismissed allegations that they were with meeting Buddhist monks in monasteries or with any other politically-sensitive people, including the famous Mandalay comedians the Moustache Brothers, known for their satirical jokes against the ruling junta.

The pair believe their arrest and deportation could be fall-out from the recent actions of another American citizen - whom they do not know or have connections to - who was arrested for swimming across Inya Lake and meeting detained opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

So far, Burmese authorities have not made public the news about the arrest and deportation. The American Center in Rangoon, meanwhile, refused to comment on the incident.



Source

Mizzima News
DG-III/95, Vikas Puri
New Delhi 110018
India
mizzima (@) mizzima.com
Phone: +91 11 28538500
Fax: +91 11 28538500
Burma

IFEX members working in this country 1

 
More from Burma
  • Freedom on the Net 2017: Myanmar

    At least 61 people were prosecuted for online speech under the new NLD administration, a dramatic increase from last year; several were held for weeks without bail, and some were sentenced to prison

  • Freedom of the Press 2017: Myanmar

    Journalist Soe Moe Tun was murdered in December while reporting on the illegal logging industry. Separately, two journalists were threatened by bomb blasts outside their homes.

  • Burma HRW Report: Events of 2016

    Restrictions on the rights to freedom of expression and assembly persist, amid the government's failure to contend with the range of rights-abusing laws that have been long used to criminalize free speech and prosecute dissidents.As part of the military's "clearance operations" in northern Rakhine State, where thousands of Rohingya Muslims face rampant and systemic human rights violations, the authorities denied independent journalists access to the region since early October.

 
More from Asia & Pacific
  • TRUTH VS MISINFORMATION: THE COLLECTIVE PUSH BACK

    SOUTH ASIA PRESS FREEDOM REPORT 2018-2019

  • The Campaign for Justice: Press Freedom in South Asia 2013-14

    Journalism in South Asia is far from an easy profession, as the 12th annual review of journalism in the region "The Campaign for Justice: Press Freedom in South Asia 2013-14" portrays. But this year's report also tells the story of the courage of South Asia's journalists to defend press freedom and to ensure citizens' right to information and freedom of expression in the face of increasing challenges to the profession and personal safety.

  • THE STORIES WOMEN JOURNALISTS TELL: Women in Media in South Asia

    The report is the first created by the South Asia Media Solidarity Network (SAMSN) looking specifically at the experience of women journalists in the South Asia sub-region