UN Human Rights Chief Demands Release of Reuters Journalists in Myanmar

Stop killing journalists. Photo: UNESCO
Stop killing journalists. Photo: UNESCO

UN Human Rights Chief Demands Release of Reuters Journalists in Myanmar

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet has expressed concern over the conviction of two Reuters journalists in Myanmar.

“I urge Myanmar to immediately and unconditionally release Kyaw Soe Oo and Thet Oo Maung, the two Reuters journalists who were today sentenced to seven years’ imprisonment on charges of violating the ill-defined Official Secrets Act,” Ms. Bachelet said Monday.

She added that their coverage of the Inn Din massacre by the military – for which the military subsequently admitted responsibility – was clearly in the public interest as it may otherwise never have come to light.

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“Their conviction follows a legal process that clearly breached international standards. It sends a message to all journalists in Myanmar that they cannot operate fearlessly, but must rather make a choice to either self-censor or risk prosecution,” Ms. Bachelet said in a statement.

She called for their conviction to be quashed and for them to be released, along with all other journalists currently in detention for their legitimate exercise of the right to freedom of expression.

The UN Human Rights Office will in the coming days issue a report on the worrying state of freedom of expression in Myanmar, with a number of recommendations for legal and policy reform.

* Kyaw Soe Oo is also known as Moe Aung. Thet Oo Maung is also known as Wa Lone.

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