Amnesty International has called for urgent action to be taken after journalist Nay Min Aung (known as Min Min) received death threats after publishing an article about an armed ethnic group operating in Rakhine State, Myanmar. In a statement on 24 April the organisation called for authorities to take immediate steps to ensure Min Min’s protection, investigate the threats against him and hold those responsible to account.
Nay Min Aung, has been receiving death threats and intimidating messages via Facebook since 10 April 2017. The threats began after he published an article on 10 April about the arrest of activists allegedly connected to the Arakan Army (AA), which he described as a rebel group. The AA is an armed ethnic organization, based in Kachin State butalso operating in Rakhine State, which regularly clashes with the Myanmar military. It rejects being labelled as a rebel group. One message reads “Attention Min Min, we know where you are. We can terminate your life anytime. Take care”. Min Min has reported the threats to the Sittwe township police station and has requested a meeting with senior members of the Rakhine State government. However, to date no action has been taken, either to ensure his safety or to identify the perpetrators.
Min Min is the founder and Chief Editor of Root Investigative Agency (RiA), a collective of journalists established in 2015 to report on current affairs in Rakhine State. The organization covers a range of sensitive subjects, including allegations of corruption among local officials, the drug trade, nationalist groups and armed conflict.
This is not the first time Min Min has been targeted in connection with his journalistic activities. On 10 March 2016, a small bomb exploded at his home in Sittwe, the Rakhine State capital. No one was injured, as Min Min and his family were travelling at the time, however the blast damaged the walls of his house. The attack followed a series of online threats against Min Min, some of which accused him of being a “traitor" for reporting about hard-line nationalist groups in Rakhine State, offered a cash reward for his murder and identified the location of his home.
Despite a police investigation in to the attack, to date no one has been arrested or held to account.