Myanmar: Detention of Journalists Threatens Press Freedom

Washington

In advance of the Myanmar government’s decision whether to charge two detained journalists for the Reuters news agency — Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo — for alleged violation of the Official Secrets Act, Freedom House issued the following statement:

“The detention of journalists Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo and the threat of bringing serious formal charges against them for covering the crisis in Rakhine State threatens the ability of all journalists in Myanmar to report on sensitive topics without fear of reprisal,” said Michael J. Abramowitz, president of Freedom House. “Press freedom is a cornerstone of democracy, and the government’s growing crackdown on media is undermining the country’s democratic transition. The government should immediately release Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo, whose real offense in the eyes of the government was their reporting on military crackdowns in Rakhine State, and uphold its responsibility to protect the right of journalists to gather and disseminate information.”

Myanmar is rated Partly Free in Freedom in the World 2017, Not Free in Freedom of the Press 2017, and Not Free in Freedom on the Net 2017

Freedom House is an independent watchdog organization that supports democratic change, monitors the status of freedom around the world, and advocates for democracy and human rights.

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