UNESCO prize for Reuters journalists jailed in Myanmar

April 10, 2019 – Reporters Without Borders (RSF) congratulates Burmese journalists Kyaw Soe Oo and Wa Lone on today’s announcement that they are to be awarded UNESCO’s Guillermo Cano Press Freedom Prize and reiterates its call for their immediate release.

Imprisoned in Myanmar for the past 15 months, these two Reuters reporters were sentenced to seven years in prison for investigating a massacre of civilians during ethnic cleansing operations by Myanmar’s security forces against the country’s Rohingya minority.

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RSF proposed Kyaw Soe Oo and Wa Lone as candidates for this prestigious prize and hails the jury’s decision to award it to them. This recognition comes as the two journalists await a decision by Myanmar’s supreme court in Naypyidaw, which registered their appeal on March 26.

“This prize is a reminder that Kyaw Soe Oo and Wa Lone are symbols of courage and resistance in a country where it is still very difficult for journalists to work freely,” said Daniel Bastard, the head of RSF’s Asia-Pacific desk. “They should not be behind bars. We issue a solemn appeal to Myanmar’s highest judicial authorities to respect the rule of law and to end the travesty of justice to which these two reporters are being subjected.”

Myanmar is ranked 137th out of 180 countries in RSF’s 2018 World Press Freedom Index.