Video of Japanese journalist killed in Myanmar in 2007 released | Press freedom news

A video camera that has been missing for more than 15 years after it was dropped by a Japanese journalist who was shot dead during the 2007 Myanmar riots was handed over to his sister at a ceremony in Bangkok, where the final image is taken. has been published.

Kenji Nagai was in Yangon to document protests led by Buddhist monks on September 27, 2007. Saffron Revolution – when soldiers arrived and opened fire on the crowd. A 50-year-old journalist working for Japan’s APF News, a small video and photo agency, was beaten and fatally wounded, he was one of about 10 people killed that day.

Nagai’s sister, Noriko Ogawa, received a small Sony Handycam on Wednesday from Aye Chan Naing, head of the Burma Voice for Democracy, a Myanmar media organization involved in its restoration.

“Thank you from the bottom of my heart,” she said. “This is a great surprise and joy for me, who had no knowledge of cameras until now.”

The handover of the cameras shows that Myanmar is in even deeper turmoil than in 2007.

Widespread and determined armed resistance has emerged since the military seized power. of Aung San Suu Kyi The government elected in February 2021 has responded to mass protests against the coup with brutal force.

About 3,440 people have been violently killed and about 18,000 are detained, according to the Political Prisoners Assistance Association, a watchdog group.

Three Myanmar journalists were killed and more than 150 jailed. A few foreign journalists were also arrested and later deported.

Kenji Nagai’s younger sister, Noriko Ogawa, receives her brother’s lost video camera from Echan Nine at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club in Bangkok [Athit Perawongmetha/Reuters]

The camera still had the original tape in it when it was found. Its contents were screened at Wednesday’s event.

“I hope that through this, people will pay attention to Myanmar again and people around the world will feel that something needs to be done about the current situation,” Ogawa told media in Bangkok. .

She said the cameras and footage would be returned to Japan for analysis to support a thorough investigation into her brother’s death.

Images showed protesters and monks singing and chanting in a street near Yangon’s old Sule Pagoda. Later, a truck full of soldiers arrived, prompting Nagai to turn the camera on himself.

“The army has arrived. The army is over there,” he says. “I think it’s a heavily armed army. People are crowded in front of the temple. People are gathering in front of the head of the Buddha. A heavily armed military truck has arrived.”

The image looks like people are scattered. The video cuts off before the fatal moment.

However, video recorded by the Democratic Voice of Burma captured the moment of death when Nagai fell and was believed to have been shot at point-blank range by soldiers. His Adrees Latif photo of the incident for Reuters won the 2008 Pulitzer Prize.

Kenji Nagai of APF tries to take a photo after being injured on the ground in Yangon. This photo won a Pulitzer Prize for his Adrees Latif shot for Reuters. [Adrees Latif/Reuters]

The exact details of when and how Nagai’s camera was found and where it was kept during that time remain vague. Aye Chan Naing said only that it passed through a series of people before being taken out of Myanmar.

“For obvious security reasons, we can’t go too deep into how to escape. All I can say is we got it through good citizens who know what’s right and what’s wrong.” I mean,” he said.

Nagai’s sister said she hopes that analyzing the tape will expose the military’s claims that he was not deliberately targeted.

“Wrong site at the wrong time”

A Myanmar state media op-ed less than a month after the shooting said Nagai was responsible for his own death because he put himself in danger.

“A Japanese correspondent met a tragic end among protesters,” he said. “Indeed, the Japanese correspondent was shot by accident rather than on purpose. He met a tragic end due to the fact that he was with protesters in the wrong place at the wrong time. rice field.”

The article also complained that Nagai entered the country on a tourist visa rather than a journalist visa. During the Saffron Uprising, it was very difficult, if not impossible, to obtain visas for journalists.

Sean Crispin of the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists said Myanmar remains a dangerous place for journalists.

“Today’s event is an important and timely reminder that the Myanmar military continues to kill journalists with impunity,” said Crispin, who attended Wednesday’s ceremony. “And the killings will not stop until Kenji’s murder is brought to full justice. From Trigger Man, from the commander of the day who gave the order to shoot and kill, to the military leadership of the deadly suppression of the day. from those.”

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