Global media condemns Myanmar's jailing of Reuters journalists

Reuters journalists left a court in Yangon after a Myanmar judge found them guilty of breaching a law on state secrets and sentenced them to seven years in prison.
Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo were on Sept 3, 2018, jailed for having breached Myanmar's Official Secrets Act during their coverage of the extrajudicial killing of Rohingya Muslims in Rakhine last year.
Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo were on Sept 3, 2018, jailed for having breached Myanmar's Official Secrets Act during their coverage of the extrajudicial killing of Rohingya Muslims in Rakhine last year. PHOTO: AFP

The World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (Wan-Ifra) and the World Editors Forum on Monday (Sept 3) condemned the sentencing of two Reuters journalists in Myanmar.

"We reject the ruling by the courts in Yangon and call for an immediate review of the verdict and the release of our colleagues," said a statement from Wan-Ifra.

"The criminalisation of the profession of journalism is a sure sign that democracy in Myanmar has a long way to go before the country can claim to be making the kind of progress towards a free press that we had hoped it would by now."

Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo were on Monday jailed for having breached Myanmar's Official Secrets Act during their coverage of the extrajudicial killing of Rohingya Muslims in Rakhine last year. They pleaded not guilty.

"This decision, and the ongoing ordeal faced by Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo, is a stain on Myanmar's democratic aspirations and further proof of its leaders' antipathy towards rights-based, transparent governance," said Wan-Ifra.

"Journalism is not a crime. The sooner Myanmar's authorities, military and civilian, realise this, the better - for the profession, the future of a free media, and a population who urgently require solid investigative journalism of the kind Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo were conducting."