The arrest of Director Steel is a typical example of arrests instigated by simply posting in SAC’s lobby telegrams. This is yet another case where social media is being used as a weapon of intimidation.
The well-known film director Steel (Dway Meetta) was arrested by military troops at his residence in Thanlyin City on the afternoon of March 20th.
Director Steel was not at home when the military came to arrest him. According to media reports, he was forced to call his family members to inform them and was arrested upon his return.
The reason for the arrest is not yet known, and the military council has not released any news. However, reports suggested his release in early April (before Thingyan), though media sources did not confirm this information.
Misinformation and Disinformation, mainly spread through telegram, were prevalent, Han Nyein Oo, a pro-military council supporter, initiated a campaign for his arrest on the Telegram channel. The arrest occurred within days. The Red Flag will conduct a detailed study and report its findings as a case study.
Director Steel shared a brief video recording of the NLD party’s campaign for the 2020 election. In 2021, he resigned from the Myanmar Film Association, showcasing his dissent after the military coup by refusing to attend an honorable meeting organized by the Military Council. This departure was announced by one of the artists in June, 2021.
In addition, Director Steel criticized the Academy Awards, which will soon be held under the military, labeling it as a low-level awards ceremony. Furthermore, he is known for sharing news from outlets critical of the military council.
However, this year, the Red Carpet Show for the movie ‘Taungsu 1an Peng Sa Son,’ directed by Steel (Dway Meetta), was held at the Mya Wati Media Center, situated in the compound of Yangon’s Moe Kaung Yadran Hospital owned by the family of the coup leader, General Min Aung Hlaing. The show, which took place on February 25th, faced considerable criticism from fans, evident in the comments.
The Red Flag has also investigated the reason behind Director Steel’s attendance at the film launch, which garnered significant criticism. Details will follow in the findings report.
Incentives to Arrest
It was noted that the campaign to arrest Director Steel was initiated in March. It was found that a Facebook account believed to be a fake account of Han Nyein Oo began publishing on March 8th. (If an account is opened on Facebook under the name of Han Nyein Oo, it is often taken down, leading to the frequent creation of fake accounts. Since the profile pictures used by Han Nye Oo are similar, it is considered likely to be a Han Nyein Oo account.)
According to The Red Flag’s monitoring, the military lobby Telegram channels – Han Nyein Oo, Ka Ka Han, Kyaw Swar, Banyunt, and Ko Thet – initiated a campaign to arrest Director Steel. Ten posts threatening not to release him were recorded for the case study.
The arrest campaign on the Telegram channel was initiated by Han Nyein Oo’s channel, starting on March 18. It was found that Director Steel’s exact address was also included.
Director Steele was actually arrested on March 20, two days after the campaign.
On Han Nyein Oo’s channel, four posts were made about Director Steele’s arrest. It was found that other channels shared more of Han Nyein Oo’s posts than the campaign to arrest him. It can be concluded that the main motive behind the arrest was Han Nyeung Oo’s channel.
Telegram channel link and distribution forms
https://t.me/nyein9699/71Â (start campaign to arrest, March 18)
https://t.me/kakahan77777/8020Â (Reshared HNO post from KaKaHan channel, March 18)
https://t.me/kyawswar96999/33293Â (Reshared HNO post by Kyaw Chan, March 18)
https://t.me/nyein9699/107Â (Motivation to effective action, March 20)
https://t.me/nyein9699/109Â (Recruitment based on Director Steel process, March 20)
https://t.me/nyein9699/130Â (Threat request not to release, March 20)
â€‹â€‹https://t.me/kyawswar96999/33386Â (Arrested by Kyawswar channel is a true statement, March 20)
https://t.me/babanyunt/2370Â (release of Banyunt channel, March 20)
https://t.me/babanyunt/2384Â (Banyunt channel campaign not to release, March 20)
https://t.me/kothetjournalist/39138Â (KoThet channel shares HNO’s non-release threat, March 20)
At least 6 media outlets reported on the arrest process of Director Steel (Dway Meeta) and his family members. It was observed that they sought perspectives from individuals affected by the incident and presented the news.
The media outlets that have been observed and presented are:
Most people shared the media reports of Director Steele’s arrest along with their own assumptions.
Some individuals believe that the military council’s actions are an attempt to enforce its policies and engage in confrontations with the public. There are also reports suggesting that the military council has stated that everything Han Nyein Oo said was merely during the arrest phase.
The Red Flag has uncovered that the well-known actor and model Nan Khin Zayar played a role in the attendance of Director Steel, widely regarded as a coup plotter, at the movie launch, which faced significant criticism.
Following the coup, artists who were close to the military and faced public boycotts included Nan Khin Zayar.
On February 25, 2023, Director Steel (Dway Meetta) directed the movie “Taungsu Yung Tat Khu Pyae Zay Thar,” which was screened at the Mya Wati Media Center, situated near Yangon’s Moe Kaung Yadran Hospital, owned by the family of the coup leader General Min Aung Hlaing.
“I purchased that movie a long time ago. Director Steele declined to attend the presentation because he didn’t want to be involved. I attended because I was threatened that I would be asked to feature it on the Han Nyeung Oo channel,” stated an individual close to Director Steele, who requested anonymity, to The Red Flag.
In response to Director Steele’s account, the film had been shot since 2017, with model-actor Nan Khin Zayar as the producer.
Director Steel explained that he agreed to resell the film, shot six years ago, due to the financial needs of film producer Nan Khin Zayar. The purchaser of the movie is U Than Htay @ Jack, who received an award from the Military Council and serves as the Managing Director of Triple Six Film Company.
- The primary motivation behind the arrest appears to be associated with Han Nyein Oo’s Telegram channel. Model actor Nan Khin Zayar expressed that she was coerced to attend the film’s launch under threats of being featured on Han Nyein Oo’s channel.
- Despite public concerns, there are speculations about the possibility of Director Steel being released and subsequently creating films with a military theme.
- Contrary to press reports, when the military council arrived to arrest Director Steele, he was not at home but outside. However, family members were allegedly coerced into making threatening phone calls, and the house was marked for sealing.
- Despite having an opportunity to escape, Director Steele reportedly failed to do so and was subsequently arrested. Delta News Agency reported that Director Steel is in poor health and has been taken in for questioning.
- While there were reports of his potential release in early April (before Thingyan), there was no media coverage confirming this information.