APFEJ asks for stern action against scribe’s killer

Dhaka: Asia-Pacific Forum of Environmental Journalists (APFEJ), while
appreciating the  Myanmar police for arresting  three persons
suspecting their role in the murder of Soe Moe Tun on 13 December
last, urged  the authority for stringent action against the culprits.
The scribe’s forum argued that killing a journalist because of his
reporting on environmental issues must not be ignored as it is against
the Mother Nature.

It may be mentioned that the Sagaing  region based Burmese journalist
was targeted by the goons for his extensive investigation & coverage
over the wood smuggling, illegal logging and mining in northwest
Myanmar. The reporter, engaged with Daily Eleven newspaper, recently
posted in his facebook account some details about the people involved
with timber trades in his locality.

Soe Moe Tun (35) left behind his wife and a minor son. The family
source claimed that he was popular in his locality with no enmity to
anyone. Hence, they believe he was killed because of his works and
that must be adored by the authority.

Myanmar, which possesses some of the most important biodiversity areas
in the world, also faces massive deforestations because of its prized
teak wood. The southeast Asian country has lost two million hectares
of its intact forest cover to illegal logging. The destruction of
forests have implicated in rare wildlife species, including snub-nosed
monkeys.

Myanmar, which has recently adopted a multi-party democracy after
decades of military rule, is yet to improve the safety & security
scenario for working journalists. The idea of freedom of the press is
new in the country, which is still identified as one of the most
censored countries in the globe.

According to the New York based Committee to Protect Journalists
(CPJ), not less than five reporters were murdered in Myanmar with
impunity since 1999. Earlier the country lost   Aung Kyaw Naing (also
known as Ko Par Gyi in 2014), Kenji Nagai (2007), Hla Han & Tha Win
(1999). The CPJ also asked the government in NayPieTaw to investigate
the  murder of Soe Moe Tun and punish the perpetrators.
Myanmar Journalist Network (MJN), in a statement condoled the demise
of the young journalist and urged the authority to investigate his
death as a murder. The MJN revealed that Soe Moe Tun used to receive
threats from the illegal logging traders prior to his death.
“Killing of a scribe is a serious offence, but the assassination of an
environmental journalist should be recognized a major crime both
against humanity and nature. We demand a fair probe into Soe Moe Tun’s
murder and visible punishment to the culprits,” said an APFEJ
statement.

Issued by the APFEJ chairman Quamrul Chowdhury and secretary Nava
Thakuria, the statement also appealed to the Burmese government
virtually led by Nobel laureate Daw Aung San Suu Kyi to adequately
compensate the family of the slain journalist and take care of his
eight years old son in pursuing proper education.

With regards,
Quamrul Chowdhury
Chairman
Asia-Pacific Forum of Environmental Journalists (APFEJ)

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