New York, November 8, 2010--Burma
must immediately release Toru Yamaji, a reporter with Tokyo-based APF news agency, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. Yamaji, 49, was detained Sunday in Myawaddy, on the country's eastern border with Thailand
while trying to cover the country's first elections in two decades, according to international media reports
, which quoted Japan
's embassy in Rangoon
. He was flown to the capital after being detained, the embassy was reported as saying.
newspaper quoted embassy officials as saying that Yamaji crossed into Myanmar
by boat along a river on the border with Thailand.
"Toru Yamaji should be released immediately and allowed to
continue covering Burma's
elections," said Bob Dietz, CPJ's Asia program
which is one of the most censored countries in the world, has not allowed the
foreign media to cover this election. Elections need the scrutiny of a free
media to be credible."
Exile groups said the elections were not free and fair, and were
an attempt by the military government running the country for more than 20
years to legitimize its hold on power. The U.K. Guadian reported that foreign journalists and
monitors were banned from Burma,
also known as Myanmar, in the run-up to the polls.
In September 2007, video journalist Kenji Nagai, who also
worked for APF, was shot and killed while covering demonstrations by Buddhist
monks and their supporters in Rangoon.
CPJ research shows that Burma has at
least 12 journalists behind bars.