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Outrage as Reuters reported charged in Burma

13 20 18

COMMITMENT to rule of law and democratic freedom of speech under the government of Aung San Suu Kyi in Burma (Myanmar) has been thrown into serious doubt after two journalists from the Reuters news agency were charged under the country’s colonial-era Official Secrets Act.

Having been detained for more than 200 days, Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo were officially charged by a Yangon court on Monday for reporting on the massacre of Rohingya Muslim villagers near the Bangladeshi border back in September 2017. If convicted the pair face 14 years’ imprisonment.

Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo’s investigation led to special report published by the news agency in February, detailing how 10 Rohingya men and boys were shot by soldiers, some hacked to death by Buddhist villagers. They were arrested in December in an apparent trap set by authorities.

SEE ALSO: Burmese press face ‘threats’ and ‘shame’ in reporting Rohingya crisis

Their case has been widely understood as a test of Burma’s nascent democracy, which has supposedly transitioned away from military rule under Suu Kyi’s popularly elected National League for Democracy.

“We are deeply disappointed that the court declined to end this protracted and baseless proceeding against Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo,” said an official statement from Reuters President and Editor-in-Chief, Stephen J. Adler.

“These Reuters journalists were doing........

© Asian Correspondent