Reuters journalists charged in Myanmar
Two journalists for the Reuters news agency were formally charged in Myanmar with obtaining state secrets.
Hannah Beech and Saw Nang of The New York Times report, “The reporters, U Wa Lone and U Kyaw Soe Oo, have been accused of violating the Official Secrets Act, a law dating to the British colonial period that carries a maximum punishment of 14 years in prison.
“The journalists were brought to court in Yangon, Myanmar’s commercial capital, where they were arrested on Dec. 12, almost immediately after being given unidentified documents by members of the police.
“Before their arrest, the journalists had been investigating the existence of a mass grave in Rakhine State, where a military campaign against Rohingya Muslims has sent more than 655,000 members of the persecuted minority fleeing to Bangladesh over the past four and a half months.
“While the United States and the United Nations have called the campaign against the Rohingya ethnic cleansing, the Myanmar government has blocked independent investigators and journalists from the epicenter of violence.”
Read more here.
Reuters editor in chief Steve Adler issued the following statement:
We are extremely disappointed that the authorities seek to prosecute Reuters journalists Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo under Myanmar’s Official Secrets Act. We view this as a wholly unwarranted, blatant attack on press freedom. Our colleagues should be allowed to return to their jobs reporting on events in Myanmar. We believe time is of the essence and we continue to call for Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo’s prompt release.