WASHINGTON — The National Press Club called on Myanmar to immediately release an Associated Press journalist who was arrested last week while covering security forces charging at anti-coup protesters.
Authorities have charged Thein Zaw and five other members of the media with violating a public order law that could see them imprisoned for up to three years.
A video of the arrest shows Zaw being quickly surrounded and held in a chokehold as handcuffs are placed on him.
The Associated Press has also called for Zaw’s immediate release and condemned his arrest and “arbitrary detention.” White House press secretary Jen Psaki on Thursday called the situation “troubling.”
“The detainment of journalists, the targeting of journalists and dissidents is certainly something that is of great concern to the president, to the secretary of state and to every member of our administration,” Psaki said in her daily press briefing.
In a statement Thursday, National Press Club President Lisa Nicole Matthews, AP’s assignment manager for U.S. video, and National Press Club Journalism Institute President Angela Greiling Kean expressed concern for Zaw’s safety.
“We believe he was simply doing his job as a journalist and look forward to his swift release,” the statement said.