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Column: Columbia College alumnus detained in Myanmar for committing journalism

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He was so close.

Columbia College journalism alumnus Danny Fenster was about to board a plane in Myanmar on May 24 to return home to Michigan.

Instead he was detained at Yangon International Airport, apparently for, as one of his Columbia teachers aptly tweeted, “performing acts of journalism.”

I say “apparently” because the military government that took over Myanmarduring a coup in February simply hasn’t said why they took Fenster, 37, into custody.

That’s not unusual for this junta. In the country that the United States government still calls Burma, Myanmar’s military regime holds dozens of journalists behind bars, according to the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists, PEN America and the Assistance Association of Political Prisoners, a Burmese rights group.

Full disclosure, I’m a member of CPJ’s board, but this case jumped out at me because of Fenster’s connection to my beloved home base of Chicago. It also stood out because most of CPJ’s cases involve countries that have a lot fewer press freedoms than our constitution........

© Chicago Tribune

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