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Journalist murdered while investigating illegal logging in Myanmar

  • A journalist was murdered while investigating illegal logging and timber smuggling in Myanmar.
  • On Tuesday, Soe Moe Tun, a local reporter with Daily Eleven newspaper, was found “severely beaten” by the side of a highway in the town of Monywa in Myanmar’s Sagaing region.
  • Robbery doesn’t appear to be the motive for the killing.

A journalist was murdered while investigating illegal logging and timber smuggling in Myanmar, reports the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ).

On Tuesday, Soe Moe Tun, a local reporter with Daily Eleven newspaper, was found “severely beaten” by the side of a highway in the town of Monywa in Myanmar’s Sagaing region. Soe Moe Tun, 35, had reported for the outlet since January 2015 according to a statement from Eleven Media Group.

According to press accounts, robbery doesn’t appear to be the motive for the killing: the reporter’s valuables were found at the crime scene. Authorities say no suspects have been identified.

Civil society groups quickly called for an investigation into Soe Moe Tun’s death.

“We categorically condemn the murder of journalist Soe Moe Tun and call on Myanmar authorities to leave no stone unturned in identifying and prosecuting those responsible,” said Shawn Crispin, CPJ’s senior Southeast Asia representative, in a statement. “A culture of impunity is taking deeper root in Myanmar. The government should break the cycle in media murders by achieving swift justice in this case.”

Soe Moe Tun / Facebook

“The investigation into Soe Moe Tun’s death should include the Forestry Department, which has more information regarding the actors and methods used to extract valuable hardwoods from Monywa,” Faith Doherty, Lead Forests Campaigner at the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA), wrote. “An independent, transparent inquiry must take place into the possible role of Government officials.”

According to Myanmar Journalist Network (MJN), Soe Moe Tun isn’t the only journalist being targeted by timber traffickers. In a statement, the group said Tin Zaw Oo, a journalist based in Myanmar’s Mandalay region, had to go into hiding in the past two months following threats from timber traders.

Header image: Soe Moe Tun / Facebook