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Stateside Podcast: Danny Fenster sentenced to 11 years

Danny Fenster on a balcony in Yangon
Courtesy of Bryan Fenster

Today we learned that a military court in Myanmar sentenced U.S. journalist and Michigan native, Danny Fenster, to 11 years in prison.

Danny Fenster (R) with his brother Bryan (L) and mother Rose (center).
Courtesy of Bryan Fenster
Danny Fenster (on the right) pictured with his family.

He’s charged with allegedly spreading false or inflammatory information. And it appears the charges pertain to Fenster’s time working for a magazine called Myanmar Now. He’s now the managing editor of another publication, Frontier Myanmar.

For months now, the U.S. State Department has lobbied for his freedom. This sentence now may call for new strategies. Steven Butler, Asia Program Coordinator, Committee to Protect Journalists, said he thinks U.S. diplomats need to go beyond sanctioning Myanmar and it’s generals as a means to free Danny Fenster.

"We've tried the sanctions route," said Butler. "I would hope that the Biden administration would put a high priority on dealing with this and to think of it creatively, think of creative approaches to trying to secure his release."

On today's Stateside podcast episode, Danny Fenster's story and how his arrest and sentencing happened to begin with.


Steven Butler, Asia Program Coordinator, Committee to Protect Journalists

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Rachel Ishikawa joined Michigan Public in 2020 as a podcast producer. She produced Kids These Days, a limited-run series that launched in the summer of 2020.