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Myanmar Is Widening Its Crackdown on Reporters Covering the Rohingya Crisis

From TIME - February 6, 2018

Two Reuters reporters covering military operations against Myanmars Rohingya Muslim minority were returned to jail Tuesday after another court appearance in a controversial official secrets trial. Their fourth hearing comes a day after state officials threatened to sue the Associated Press over a story exposing mass graves, deepening concerns about a crackdown on the nations media.

The two Reuters journalists, Wa Lone, 31, and Kyaw Soe Oo, 27, were brought to the hearing in handcuffs, in a trial the news wire has called a blatant attack on free press. The pair have been charged with intending to expose state secrets in a case that has brought international criticism of Aung San Suu Kyi, the Nobel laureate who leads the countrys semi-civilian government.

Before their arrest, Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo were reporting on military operations in Rakhine State, which have triggered the exodus of nearly 700,000 Rohingya Muslims. U.N. and U.S. officials have labelled the military campaign ethnic cleansing; the U.N. human rights chief suggested genocide could not be ruled out. But the government has imposed a virtual media blackout over the epicenter of the violence, barring both journalists and independent investigators from traveling to the area to verify accounts of atrocities.

Read more: Its Dangerous to Write the Truth. Journalists Fear the End of Press Freedom in Myanmar

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