The Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Hong Kong again calls for the immediate release of Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo, two Myanmar journalists with the Reuters news agency who had been investigating the killing of 10 Rohingya Muslim men who were buried in a mass grave.
The pair, charged last week with breaching the colonial-era Official Secrets Act, were in court testifying this week. Both have pleaded not guilty to the charges, which carry a maximum penalty of 14 years in prison. Over the past six months, the FCC Hong Kong and other press organisations have repeatedly called for the charges to be dropped and for the two men to return home to their families. They were engaged in normal reporting activities and had not committed any wrongdoing.
Once again, we call on Aung San Suu Kyi and her civilian government to act to defend press freedom as the country undertakes its transition to democracy. Her government has an opportunity to show that it respects the beneficial role of a free and independent media, and will ensure that journalists are able to work without threat of retaliation.
With a verdict now possibly weeks away, it is also vital that everyone who believes in press freedom denounces efforts to silence journalists, in Myanmar and elsewhere around the globe. One easy place to start is by signing a petition for their release: goo.gl/1kPTwX
The Human Rights Press Awards are run by the FCC, Amnesty International Hong Kong and the Hong Kong Journalists Association. The 22nd annual awards were held on May 12, 2018, in a ceremony at the FCC. Click here to find out who won.