Yangon, May 7, 2019:
In a major victory for the press, India’s neighboring country Myanmar has released two Reuters journalists who had been jailed after they were convicted of breaking the Official Secrets Act.
The two journalists Wa Lone, 33, and Kyaw Soe Oo, 29, were being held in Insein prison on the outskirts of Myanmar capital Yangon. The arrest of the two journalists raised an outcry from various human rights groups who questioned the ‘freedom of the press’ in Myanmar.
Before their arrest in December 2017, the duo had been working on an investigation into the killing of 10 Rohingya Muslim men and boys by security forces and Buddhist civilians in western Myanmar’s Rakhine State during an army crackdown that began in August 2017.
The operation sent more than 730,000 Rohingyas fleeing to Bangladesh, according to UN estimates. Their work won them a Pulitzer Prize, which is the highest honor awarded in the field of journalism.
Reuters Editor-in-Chief Stephen J Adler welcomed the news of the agency’s journalists. The journalists have meanwhile been reunited with their respective families.
The duo was released under a presidential amnesty for 6,520 prisoners on Tuesday. Myanmar’s President Win Myint has pardoned thousands of other prisoners in mass amnesties since the beginning of the Myanmar New Year on April 17.