The European Rohingya Council condemns jailing of two Reuters Journalists
The European Rohingya Council (ERC) unequivocally condemns the outrageous sentencing of Wa Lone (32) and Kyaw Soe Oo (28) on Monday, September 3.
Yangon Northern District Judge Ye Lwin sentenced the two highly-accredited Burmese journalists to seven years for breaching the colonial-era “Official Secrets Act section 3.1.c”. Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo employed by Reuters, found that Myanmar Security Forces and armed Rakhine vigilantes executed 10 Rohingya men and boys summarily in Inn Din village, Rakhine State on September 2, 2017. They were arrested on December 12, which prosecution witness Police Captain Moe Yan Naing described a “setup”.
The report of International Independent Fact-finding Mission on Myanmar found that Myanmar Armed Forces committed atrocities with the “genocidal intent” against Rohingya. The report also found Myanmar State-counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi “has not used her de-facto position as Head of Government, nor her moral authority, to stem or prevent the unfolding events in Rakhine”.
Today’s court hearing reconfirms Aung San Suu Kyi’s shamefully doing nothing to safe guard the values of democracy.
It is a direct threat to the freedom of the press as Wa Lone clearly told the public outside the court, “It directly threatens our democracy and freedom of the press. I would like to say it’s very disappointing as it’s destroyed the system (democracy) of our country.”
Kyaw Soe Oo also shows the rare unwavering journalistic profession in a country engulfed with the spread of fake news and the suppression of media, “We didn’t do anything wrong… We didn’t commit a crime. We will continue to fight for the freedom of the press. What I want to say to the government is, you can put us in jail, but do not close the eyes and ears of the people.”
The sentencing is a major blow to the freedom of the press and the protection of journalists in Myanmar.
The European Rohingya Council reiterates its strongest condemnation for the verdict against the journalists while the security forces enjoy impunity.
Furthermore, ERC calls for the immediate release of Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo, and urges to ensure safety, security and unhindered access to perform journalistic duties.
For more information:
The European Rohingya Council