Reuters' editor-in-chief calls freed reporters symbols of press freedom

Credit: Reuters Studio
Published on May 7, 2019 - Duration: 00:16s

Reuters' editor-in-chief calls freed reporters symbols of press freedom

Reuters Editor-in-Chief Stephen Adler has called two freed journalists symbols of the "importance of press freedom." Rough cut - no reporter narration.

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Reuters' editor-in-chief calls freed reporters symbols of press freedom

(ROUGH CUT, NO REPORTER NARRATION) Two Reuters journalists jailed in Myanmar after they were convicted of breaking the Official Secrets Act walked free from a prison on the outskirts of Yangon on Tuesday after spending more than 500 days behind bars according to witnesses.

The two reporters, Wa Lone, 33, and Kyaw Soe Oo, 29, had been convicted in September and sentenced to seven years in jail, in a case that raised questions about Myanmar's progress toward democracy and sparked an outcry from diplomats and human rights advocates.

Before their arrest in December 2017, Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo had been working on an investigation into the killing of 10 Rohingya Muslim men and boys by security forces and Buddhist civilians in western Myanmar's Rakhine State during an army crackdown that began in August 2017.

The operation sent more than 730,000 Rohingya fleeing to Bangladesh, according to U.N.

Estimates.

The report the two men authored, featuring testimony from perpetrators, witnesses and families of the victims, was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for international reporting in May, adding to a number of accolades received by the pair for their journalism.

A spokesman for the Myanmar government could not immediately be reached for comment.

Reuters has said the two men did not commit any crime and had called for their release.

Following the journalists release, Reuters Editor-in-Chief Stephen Adler said "We are enormously pleased that Myanmar has released our courageous reporters, Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo.

Since their arrests 511 days ago, they have become symbols of the importance of press freedom around the world.

We welcome their return."

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