Myanmar has deported two Australian journalists who were working in the country on a documentary on independent media in southeast Asia, media reports said on Friday.
A report by Australia’s AAP said that despite having long—stay visas, the Australian film crew were arrested and taken to the airport to be deported on Thursday night.
The team was working on a documentary about independent media, including the Myanmar Times newspaper and its Australian editor Ross Dunkley.
The department of foreign affairs and trade was trying to locate them. “The Australian embassy in Rangoon (Yangon) has been making urgent inquiries overnight in regards to the whereabouts of the film crew,” a spokesman told AAP.
Deported filmmaker Hugh Piper, who was working with producer Helen Barrow, later told ABC News from Bangkok that he and his crew were deported because of the sensitivity over foreign reporting on the Myanmar election.
Mr. Piper was visiting the Myanmar Times office when he learned that he would be leaving the country.
“There were a couple of guys inside the Myanmar Times newspaper who liaise with the government. They said, ‘you need to now return to your hotel where you’ll be met by various officials from the immigration department who are going to escort you to the airport and expel you’ We were told it was the wish of the Burmese government,” Mr. Piper was quoted as saying.