Who is Min Nyo? Myanmar Journalist First Given Prison Sentence for Reporting Under Junta Rule

Min Nyo, 51, on Wednesday became the first journalist to be sentenced to prison in Myanmar by a military court under junta rule after the army took control in February when Aung San Suu Kyi's elected government was forced out. He was sentence to three years, the Associated Press reported.

Min Nyo worked for Democratic Voice of Burma (DVB), an online and broadcasting media group that has been banned since March 8 by Myanmar's junta. DVB said Min Nyo was beaten and arrested by police after reporting on an anti-junta protest March 3. He was convicted under a revised Penal Code provision that has been criticized for punishing free speech legally.

"It is inhumane to be beaten and arrested. He never violated journalistic ethics. That is why I want to say that there is no justice in Myanmar, " Nyomee Moe, who is Min Nyo's wife, told AP.

Min Nyo has been prevented from seeing his wife and two children but permitted to see a lawyer. Nyomee Moe is working to try to have her husband's verdict appealed by speaking with lawyers.

For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below.

Protester in Myanmar
A protester holds the National League for Democracy (NLD) flag during a demonstration against the military coup in Yangon, Myanmar, on May 12, 2021. A Myanmar man on Wednesday became the first journalist to be sentenced, to three years in prison, under junta rule. STR/AFP via Getty Images

The recently revised provision in the Penal Code makes punishable by up to three years in prison any attempt to "hinder, disturb, damage the motivation, discipline, health and conduct" of soldiers and civil servants and cause their hatred, disobedience or disloyalty toward the military and the government.

Three DVB journalists who fled Myanmar were arrested earlier this week in northern Thailand for illegal entry. Rights groups and journalists' associations are urging Thai authorities not to send them back to Myanmar, where it is feared their safety would be at risk from the authorities.

Myanmar's junta has tried to smother all independent news media. Like many other banned media outlets, DVB has continued operating.

About 80 journalists have been arrested since the army seized power on Feb. 1. Roughly half are still detained and most of them are being held under the same charge for which Min Nyo was convicted, as are many activists opposed to the military regime.

A statement issued by DVB said Min Nyo had been covering the anti-junta protest in the town of Pyay, 260 kilometers (160 miles) northwest of Yangon.

Min Nyo had previously served seven years in prison under a previous military government after his arrest in 1996 for alleged ties to a militant student opposition group.

Min Nyo's wife, Nyomee Moe, told AP that both then and now, he was unjustly imprisoned.