ARTICLE 19 condemns today’s decision by Myanmar’s Supreme Court to uphold the conviction of Reuters journalists Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo. The two men were arrested in December 2017 while researching a massacre of Rohingya men and boys by state security forces. In September 2018, they were convicted under the repressive colonial-era Official Secrets Act, despite evidence that they had been targeted in a poorly concealed entrapment plot. Last week, Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo were named winners of the Pulitzer Prize in International Reporting alongside their Reuters colleagues.
Commenting on the court’s decision, Matthew Bugher, ARTICLE 19’s Head of Asia Programme, said: “The unconscionable treatment of these two brave journalists by Myanmar’s courts lays bare the government’s abject failure to protect human rights and press freedom. In truth, official persecution is the greatest threat facing reporters in Myanmar today. The risk of arrest and imprisonment is always on the doorstep of investigative journalists seeking to expose government misconduct and crimes. Days after the international community recognized Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo’s profound contribution to reporting about the Rohingya crisis, the Myanmar government compounded an unfathomable injustice and buried its head further in the sand.”