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SPJ relieved Fenster is alive, renews call for his release by Myanmar government


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6/18/2021


CONTACT:
Matthew T. Hall, SPJ National President, 619-987-7786, mhall@spj.org
Jennifer Royer, SPJ Director of Communications and Marketing, 317-361-4134, jroyer@spj.org

INDIANAPOLIS — The Society of Professional Journalists is relieved to see American journalist Danny Fenster is alive after his disappearance almost a month ago when Myanmar authorities arrested him at the Yangon airport as he was heading back to the United States. However, that relief is tempered by the fact that Fenster remains in custody solely because he is a journalist.

The 37-year-old journalist and editor of Frontier Myanmar was arrested by Myanmar forces May 24 and had not been seen or heard from until June 17 when he was charged by the military junta with crimes of “causing fear” and spreading “false news.” Following the reading of the charges Fenster was remanded to prison for a trial to begin July 1.

Besides waging a campaign against independent media in Myanmar, the military government has also violated international accords by refusing Fenster and other foreign detainees access to representatives of their respective governments. The U.S. State Department said repeated requests by U.S. Embassy staff to meet with Fenster, as guaranteed under international law, have been rejected by the government.

SPJ again calls on the Myanmar government to release Fenster and cease its intimidation of all independent journalists and news outlets.

“Free Danny Fenster,” SPJ National President Matthew T. Hall said. “He should be released as soon as possible. Journalism is not a crime.”

SPJ promotes the free flow of information vital to informing citizens; works to inspire and educate the next generation of journalists; and fights to protect First Amendment guarantees of freedom of speech and press. Support excellent journalism and fight for your right to know. Become a member, give to the Legal Defense Fund or give to the SPJ Foundation.

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