The Committee to Protect Journalists urged the Burma government and relevant authorities to “prosecute the perpetrators” of an attack on the owner of the Eleven Media Group.
The Burmese media reported that slingshot-wielding assailants attacked Than Htut Aung, the owner of the Eleven Media Group last Tuesday. The Committee to Protect Journalists issued a statement condemning the attacks. The CPJ said that assailants used slingshots to shoot iron tire lug nuts at Than Htut Aung’s car while it was at a traffic intersection in Yangon city’s Bahan Township.”
Than Htut Aung was not injured in the attack, which reports said damaged the car’s passenger-side window where he was seated. The assailants escaped in a taxi, the reports said.
The CPJ said in its statement that the “police apprehended two suspects, who denied involvement in the attack,” and that, “an account by Eleven Daily said there were five people involved in the attack. Myint Htwe, commander of Yangon Division East District police station, said officials were investigating the motive and looking for possible accomplices, according to reports.
Than Htut Aung, writes an op-ed column for the Eleven Daily that is often critical of the country’s military’s political influence and the lack of freedom of the press.
The Eleven Daily editor, Wai Phyo, linked the attacks to people who “suffer from our investigative reporting and those who do not want to relinquish power” at this November’s general election.
On June 15, the Ministry of Information filed a complaint against the publisher of Eleven Daily, the newspaper affiliated with the group, and 16 editorial employees that claimed their coverage of a defamation suit the ministry brought against another Eleven Media Group publication last October prejudiced the proceedings. Both legal complaints are still pending.
Shawn Crispin the Committee to Protect Journalists, senior Southeast Asia representative called on “authorities to punish those responsible for this attack and to better protect the press ahead of Myanmar’s upcoming democratic polls.”
The CPJ said in its statement that Burma had a “dismal record of press freedom, CPJ research shows. International groups including CPJ and Amnesty International have accused Myanmar’s government of using threats, harassment, and imprisonment to intimidate the media ahead of national elections expected in early November.”