Myanmar Rapper Arrested Over Online Criticism of the Junta

A prominent hip-hop artist from Myanmar has been arrested for voicing his criticism of the military regime on Facebook, the BBC confirmed.

Byu Har publicly disapproved of the junta’s ineffective management of pervasive power blackouts that Myanmar has suffered in recent times.

Ever since the 2021 coup that toppled Aung San Suu Kyi’s civilian administration, the nation has been struggling to ensure stable fuel supplies for gas-based power plants.

This recent arrest adds to the series of suppressive actions the regime has taken against the civilians.

Having been situated in Yangon, Byu Har labelled the minister for electricity “a fool” and “incompetent” in a video that was shared on Facebook this Tuesday evening.

“During the past five years under the old lady, we had 24 hours of electricity, not only that, the electricity bill was [going] down,” he said referring the former democratically-elected leader Ms Suu Kyi.

The rapper used strong words to talk about the junta’s leaders in the video and even mentioned his home address in the caption, challenging them to arrest him if they found his post objectionable.

Byu Har was taken into custody in the North Dagon Township of Yangon by police officers on Wednesday, after which his friends and family were unable to reach him, insiders with knowledge of the incident reported to the BBC.

Before his capture, authorities had issued numerous warnings to the rapper for creating music that criticised the junta, they further noted.

The current whereabouts and state of Byu Har remain uncertain.

Human rights organizations like Amnesty International have recorded incidents of Myanmar’s officials routinely subjecting their captives to severe questioning and abuse.

Byu Har is the son of Naing Myanmar, a widely recognised musician in the Southeast Asian nation.

Naing Myanmar’s piece, “The World Will Not End”, turned into a rallying cry during the 1988 revolution, a time when student activists incited a country-wide rebellion against the earlier military rule.

The same song has once again gained popularity amid the ongoing civil unrest, following the coup in February 2021.

Two years since, the military regime is yet to establish control over vast regions of the nation.

It continues to confront ethnic armed groups along the borders, which have been in conflict with the military for several years.

The recently formed resistance groups against the coup, calling themselves People’s Defence Forces (PDFs) across most of the remaining nation has also been fighting the junta.

The coup has resulted in the death of many thousands and forced roughly 1.4 million people to leave their homes. Nearly a third of the citizens require aid, as stated by the United Nations.