WASHINGTON, Nov. 12, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- U.S. press leaders expressed indignation Friday over news that Danny Fenster, an American journalist working in Myanmar, had been sentenced to 11 years in prison on unfounded charges.
Fenster, who is from Michigan, is the managing editor of Frontier Myanmar, an online magazine. He was sentenced to jail by a court in Myanmar on Friday purportedly for spreading false or inflammatory information, contacting illegal organizations, and violating visa regulations.
He also faces separate charges in another court of violating a counterterrorism law and a statute covering treason and sedition.
"Journalists and people of conscience everywhere are shocked and outraged at this miscarriage of justice," said Lisa Nicole Matthews, president of the National Press Club, and Angela Greiling Keane, president of the National Press Club Journalism Institute. "Danny Fenster has committed no crime and was only doing his job of informing the world about events in Myanmar. Today's sentencing is a stain on that country and the only way to remove it is for Mr. Fenster to be promptly set free and all charges dropped."
Fenster has been detained in Myanmar since May. The National Press Club honored him this year with a John Aubuchon Press Freedom Award, which recognizes journalists who persevere in the face of extreme adversity.
The charges against Fenster have no basis in fact. They were focused on work he did for the Myanmar Now news agency, which had its license revoked by a Myanmar government intent on silencing news outlets. But Fenster had resigned from Myanmar Now 10 months prior to his arrest.
He told his lawyer earlier this year that he had become infected with the coronavirus while in detainment and was denied medicine.
Founded in 1908, the National Press Club is the world's leading professional organization for journalists. The Club has 3,000 members representing nearly every major news organization and is a leading voice for press freedom in the United States and around the world.
The National Press Club Journalism Institute, the Club's non-profit affiliate, promotes an engaged global citizenry through an independent and free press and equips journalists with skills and standards to inform the public in ways that inspire civic engagement.