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The court decision today to press charges against Reuters reporters Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo under the Official Secrets Act of 1923 threatens fundamental freedoms, a free media and the public’s right to information in Myanmar.
Since the arrest of the journalists on 12 December 2017 for their reporting on the situation in Rakhine State, EU diplomats have observed every court hearing and the EU has continuously raised the matter with the Myanmar government.
Media freedom and pluralism are essential pillars of any democracy. Journalists and media workers must be able to work in an environment free from fear of intimidation, harassment, undue arrest and prosecution, and require protection in order to promote transparency and accountability in any society.
The European Union expects the charges against the two journalists prosecuted for merely exercising their rights to freedom of expression and carrying out their jobs to be dropped and for them to be released immediately so they can be reunited with their families and resume their vital work.