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Prayer event held for Myanmar Reuters journalists

NAW BETTY HAN The Myanmar Times Thursday December 13, 2018

Activists and supporters carry balloons to show support for jailed Reuters journalists Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo, who were arrested on December 12, 2017. Zarni Phyo/The Myanmar Times

Activists called for the release of Reuters journalists Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo on the first anniversary of their arrest and imprisonment at a prayer event on Wednesday.

It was the second public event in support of the journalists. At an event on September 2, a sketch was performed depicting the suppression of press freedom in Myanmar.

“Yesterday’s event was for people to pray for the release of the journalists. We wish them to be released soon. They are in jail for investigating the killings in Inn Din village in Rakhine State,” said Maung Saung Kha, founder of the Athan Organisation, a freedom of expression group.

The prayer event was organised by the group to raise awareness for the two journalists and press freedom in Myanmar, Maung Saung Kha said.

Media activists and supporters light candles in downtown Yangon to mark the first year of incarceration of Reuters journalists Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo. Zarni Phyo/The Myanmar Times

“We call for the release of the journalists through a court decision, not as an amnesty from the president. If they are released under an amnesty, it only shows that press freedom is declining in the country. We hope for the success of the appeal of their sentence, which will be heard in court on December 24,” he said.

Those at the event lit candles, prayed and released balloons.

The balloons represent the reporters’ imprisonment, said Moe Thway, the spokesperson for Generation Wave, a pro-democracy youth movement.

“We hope they will be go free like the balloons,” he added.



The protesters wore T-shirts bearing images of Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo and the legend, “Free Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo”. They also posted images of Time Magazine’s cover featuring the wives of the journalists.

The journalists were selected for Time’s Person of the Year issue announced Wednesday. The magazine noted that they were selected as “they remain separated from their wives and children, serving a sentence for defying the ethnic divisions that rend the country.” The magazine went on to report that the journalists were sentenced to seven years for documenting the mass killing of 10 Muslim men suspected of being terrorists at Inn Din.

Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo were arrested on the outskirts of Yangon on December 12 last year after meeting two police sources who handed them allegedly classified documents, which they accepted in violation of the colonial-era Official Secrets Act.

From: THE MYANMAR TIMES (Myanmar) Thursday December 13, 2018

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