Commentary on “Fears for 3 journalists arrested by military in Shan State”

Picking fight with the media is certainly not a very wise act for the Tatmadaw, especially when it is trying hard to portray itself as a protector of the democratically elected government.

Of course, it is an awkward situation, so to speak, as the Tatmadaw has created an undemocratic, self-drawn 2008 constitution, to keep itself above the elected civilian government in reality, as it runs home, defense and border affairs ministries, besides its military officers being given 25% appointed seats in the parliament, without having to run for election. Thus, in reality it is more powerful than the elected, NLD government.

Old habit dies hard and what the Tatmadaw is doing now is to come down hard on the newsmen who it considered are giving publicity to the TNLA, which is its sworn enemy and has been delivering running battles for a number of years.

The § 17/1, Unlawful Associations Act that is over 100 years old, is used to sue and imprison those that the Tatmadaw sees are against its interest.

But even then, the public and international uproar is working against the Tatmadaw image and to limit the damage, it would be wise to release the reporters immediately than detaining them.

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