“Don’t be afraid of them,” The Hakha Times CEO Ya Lalawmpuia, also known as Pa Pui, advised his newsroom on March 3. “If we are afraid, we will not be able to reveal the truth about what they [police and soldiers] are doing.”
Less than a week earlier, on February 27, Pa Pui, 50, had been arrested in Hakha, the Chin State capital, while live streaming a protest.
“They [the police] beat me. I told them I was from the media, but they cursed and told me to stop talking nonsense,” he told Frontier. “They did not f*cking care – they threw me forcefully into the police truck.”
Pa Pui said more than 10 officers detained him, then took him to the Hakha Myoma police station and held him overnight. He was released at 2pm the following day.
“They forced me to sign an agreement not to livestream any protests or military deployments, which doesn’t make sense – I’m a journalist,” he said.
He signed the paper but told them he would not abide by the agreement.
“Although I signed the agreement, I told them I’ll keep covering protests without hesitation because it’s my job,” he told Frontier. “If I’d refused, I would have stayed in jail. I wanted to get out as soon as possible and get back to work.”
Hakha is home to at least six media outlets, as well as a handful of reporters for Yangon and Mandalay-based publications. Pa Pui is not the only one to be arrested: another journalist at The Hakha Times and a reporter for the Chinland Post were also detained and later released for reporting on the coup and the popular resistance to it.
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