The professional membership of the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Thailand is deeply concerned by the arrest of two journalists in Myanmar, who work for the Reuters news agency.
The two journalists, Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo, were detained late on Tuesday night on the outskirts of Yangon after being driven to meet two police officers. The Myanmar authorities say the two were found to have sensitive documents in their possession, and that they will be charged under the colonial-era Official Secrets Act, which carries a prison term of up to fourteen years.
Wa Lone has been one of the Reuters team reporting on violence in Rakhine state since 25 August this year. Kyaw Soe Oo is from Rakhine State, and joined the Reuters team in September.
The FCCT’s professional membership is alarmed by the use of this draconian law with its heavy penalties against journalists simply doing their jobs. Wielding such a blunt legal instrument has an intimidating effect on other journalists, and poses a real threat to media freedom. The government should instead give journalists access to Rakhine state so that they can report accurately on developments there.
The FCCT’s professional membership respectfully calls on the Myanmar authorities to release both reporters immediately.
View the original statement HERE.