Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Family vows to fight for the freedom of American journalists in Myanmar

DETROIT – The parents and brother of an American journalist detained in Myanmar for 100 days vowed on Tuesday that they will never stop working to ensure his release.

Danny Fenster, 37, is the editor-in-chief of the Myanmar border, an independent online news media based in Yangon, the largest city in Southeast Asia. He was detained while trying to board a plane to visit his family in the Detroit area on May 24, and is currently being held at Yongsheng Prison in Yangon.

“We just want to stay tough — as tough as Danny — and we won’t stop until we bring him home,” his father Buddy Fenster said at a press conference via Zoom.

The Burmese military government accused Fenster of inciting incitement, saying that he spread false or inflammatory information. If convicted, Fenster could be imprisoned for up to three years.

Military officials stated that they did not suppress press freedom by detaining journalists, but needed to restrict the release of information to prevent violence and riots. Since coming to power in February this year, the military government has detained dozens of journalists.

According to his brother Brian Finster, Finster’s next hearing is scheduled for next week.

His family hoped to raise awareness of his detention and called for his immediate release on humanitarian grounds.

Danny Fenster told his lawyer in July that he believed he was infected with COVID-19, but the prison authorities denied that he was infected. The Finsters said they had not spoken to Danny since August 1. During that conversation, they began to believe that he was indeed infected with the coronavirus.

“He still has some brain fog, loss of taste and smell, and some fatigue,” mother Rothfinster said, adding that her son was not vaccinated against COVID-19.

The U.S. government and Press Freedom Association have been pushing for the release of Danny Finster.

“It has been 100 days and he is not at home, which is frustrating,” Brian Finster said on Tuesday. “But we know that at the highest level, this is the top priority. And resources are being used to ensure his release.”

Representative Andy Levine of Michigan said that he maintains regular contact with the U.S. State Department and the Finster family he represents in Congress. Democrats from the suburbs of Detroit predicted that Fenster would eventually be released.

“We will let Danny leave because Fenster will not give up,” Levine said.

The National Press Club announced on Monday that Danny Fenster will receive the 2021 John Aubuchon Freedom of the Press Award, which recognizes journalists who bravely promote the truth in difficult circumstances.

Nation World News Desk
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