On the sixth anniversary of the slaying of Japanese photographer Kenji Nagai in Myanmar, Reporters Without Borders reiterated its call for the government to investigate his death “as a first step towards recognition of the many crimes against journalists.”
Nagai, who reported for the Japanese news agency APF, was shot in the head while filming an army crackdown on protests against military rule on Sept. 27, 2007. The protests became known as the "Saffron Revolution."
Yan Naing, a video reporter from the media group Democratic Voice of Burma, filmed a soldier shoot Nagai, and as the anniversary neared, he talked about what happened with Burmese news publication The Irrawaddy Magazine.
Naiag said the shooting happened after an order to disperse the protesters came. “The soldiers followed it and people started to ran away,” he said. “A soldier standing beside Kenji Nagai fatally shot him. From where I was standing, the shooting was like a scene in a movie. My camera happened to be aiming right between the soldier and [Kenji Nagai], so I was able to catch the shooting. Kenji Nagai fell down and didn’t move at all but his camera was still in his hand.”
Reporters Without Borders called on Myanmar, also known as Burma, to ensure that the camera the soldiers took from Nagai's body is returned to the family. Fellow journalist and colleague, Tsutomu Haringey, has tried to recover Nagai's camera as a way to pay respects to Nagai’s courageous work.
Reporters Without Borders sent a letter to President Thein Sein in July before his trip to France that asked him to create a commission to investigate crimes against news providers that have taken place since 1962.
The French media watchdog said it recognizes the progress the government has made in the past few years but declared that a stronger determination to solve past crimes is key to ensure that the efforts related to freedom of information are credible.
Burma has gone up 18 places in the 2013 Reporters Without Borders press freedom index. It is ranked 151st out of 179 countries.
By Maria Jose Valero.