SABEW joins Reuters in calling for imprisoned journalists Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo to be freed

Posted By Aimee O'Grady on Monday April 29, 2019

In advance of World Press Freedom Day on May 3, the Society for Advancing Business Editing and Writing (SABEW) joins member Reuters in calling for imprisoned Reuters journalists Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo to be freed.

The journalists, who were awarded a Pulitzer Prize for their exposé on atrocities against Rohingya Muslims, were sentenced in September 2018 to seven years in prison on charges of illegal possession of official documents.

The two journalists also recently received UNESCO’s annual press freedom prize for their reporting on the killings, and they were among a group of journalists recognized as Time magazine’s “Person of the Year” for 2018. World Press Freedom Day is May 3.

Police in Myanmar detained the two reporters in December 2017 for allegedly “obtaining state secrets” related to a military crackdown on Rohingya Muslims in the country’s Rakhine state. Authorities arrested them just after they had dinner with two police officers who gave them the documents, in what is largely seen as a police setup.

After a regional high court in January rejected an earlier appeal, attorneys representing the journalists filed an appeal with the country’s highest court the following month.

But the Myanmar Supreme Court upheld the convictions and jail terms for Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo, who already have been incarcerated for more than 16 months.

In a statement issued Tuesday following the ruling, Reuters chief counsel Gail Gove, said, “Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo did not commit any crime, nor was there any proof that they did. Instead, they were victims of a police setup to silence their truthful reporting. We will continue to do all we can to free them as soon as possible.”

SABEW is increasingly concerned about the arrests of journalists and attacks on the media by government officials and other authorities in both the United States and abroad.

The sentencing of Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo by Myanmar authorities and the subsequent rejection of their appeal by the country’s Supreme Court for merely doing their jobs — reporting the news — are unacceptable.

For more information on SABEW’s First Amendment Initiative go to #SABEW1stAmendment.

SABEW is the world’s largest organization dedicated to business and financial journalism.

For more information, contact Kathleen Graham, SABEW executive director, at kgraham@sabew.org.

SABEW - Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication,
Arizona State University

555 North Central Ave, Suite 406 E, Phoenix, AZ 85004-1248

E-mail: sabew@sabew.org

©2001 - 2019 Society of American Business Editors and Writers, Inc.

SABEW Home