Eighty-three civil society organisations in Myanmar have demanded immediate and unconditional release two Reuters journalists jailed on “politically motivated charges”.
The organisations also called on the Myanmar government, military, and all other relevant authorities to protect media freedom and promote accountability, according to a news release issued by Fortify Rights today.
The signatories said they interpreted the conviction and sentencing as a “crackdown on the right of access to information and media freedom”.
“This was a sham trial of the highest order,” said Matthew Smith, Chief Executive Officer at Fortify Rights. “Wa Lone and Kyaw SoeOo did nothing wrong. They were investigating mass atrocity crimes and should be immediately freed.”
Myanmar arrested Wa Lone and Kyaw SoeOo in Yangon on December 12, 2017. The pair were sentenced to seven years in prison for investigating a massacre by Myanmar security forces.
“Democracy cannot take root without a free press,” said Matthew Smith. “The conviction of Wa Lone and Kyaw SoeOo is an all-time low for press freedoms and reflects the state of human rights in Myanmar.”