About 50 Pulitzer Prize winners have urged Myanmar to immediately release two Reuters reporters arrested earlier this month in Yangon and to drop charges against them, The Irrawaddy Online reported on Thursday (Dec 28).
The group said in a statement issued on Wednesday: “Their arrest is an outrageous attack on the media freedom. Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo are brave, principled and professional journalists who were working in the public interest and were jailed simply for doing their jobs.”
“We call on the Myanmar government to immediately release Wa Lone and Kyaw Soi Oo, reunite them with their families, and drop all charges against them,” said the group in the statement.
The two Reuters reporters were arrested on Dec 12 after accepting an invitation from police to have dinner on Yangon’s outskirts. They had been covering crisis in Rakhine state and were charged under the colonial-era Secrets Act for “illegally acquiring information with the intention to share it with foreign media.”
The charge carries a maximum jailterm of 14 years.
They are among 11 journalists arrested in Myanmar this year for defamation or other alleged crimes under some of the country’s repressive laws, some of them dating back to the British rule.
On Wednesday, the court extended the detention of the two Reuters reporters for another 14 days.