Myanmar journalists ask government for details of Reuters reporters' case

From Reuters - January 8, 2018

YANGON (Reuters) - A group of Myanmar reporters asked the government on Monday for details about the arrest of two Reuters journalists last month, arguing that the case could have implications for the ability of journalists to do their jobs, two members of the group said.

The two Reuters journalists, Wa Lone, 31, and Kyaw Soe Oo, 27, are being investigated on suspicion of breaching the Official Secrets Act, a little-used law that has been on the books from the days of British colonial rule.

They had worked on Reuters coverage of a crisis in the western state of Rakhine, where an estimated 655,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled from a military crackdown that followed militant attacks on security forces.

The two are due to appear in court on Wednesday. It will be their second appearance in court and the prosecutor could request that charges are filed against them.

Twelve reporters based in Myanmars capital, Naypyitaw, said they had made their request to the interior ministry for more information about the case in accordance with the media law.

The government hasnt given a proper enough explanation to the country, Nyan Hlaing Lynn, Naypyitaw bureau chief for the Frontier Myanmar magazine told Reuters.

Were worried that this will set a bad example of what happens when someone gives information to the media.


The two Reuters reporters were arrested on Dec. 12, after they were invited to meet police for dinner in Yangon.

The Ministry of Information has cited the police as saying the two journalists were arrested for possessing important and secret government documents related to Rakhine State and security forces. It said they had illegally acquired information with the intention to share it with foreign media.

Government officials from some of the worlds major nations, including the United States, Britain and Canada, as well as top U.N. officials, have called for the release of the journalists.


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