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Reporter in court for breach of Myanmar Confidentiality Act, SE Asia News & Top Stories
Rangoon - Two Reuters journalists who have been indicted for violating Myanmar's confidentiality laws while reporting on the Rohingya financial turmoil must be brought to justice, a court justice said in a verdict quickly condemned as a "black day" for media freedoms in the state. Ye Lwin, county court magistrate, blamed reporter Wa Lone, 32, and Kyaw Soe Oo, 28, for violating the Official Secrets Act of former colonies, which provides for a 14-year jail sentence.
Prosecutors had been charged by the tribunal against both reporter under section 3.1(c) of the Act to prove the claims of persecution that they were collecting and obtaining classified documentation concerning the police with the intent to damage homeland safety. The case now enters the litigation stage, in which defenders call testimonies before the judges who, according to the opinion of law professionals, will then give a judgment.
According to Reuters, the two are blameless and are just doing their jobs by covering a Rohingya Muslim slaughter in September, and has asked the tribunal to reject the case. Reporter say they were trapped by the cops - a story that was apparently supported in the courtroom by an informant who said officials were ordered to establish the newsmen.
Reporter said they were almost immediately apprehended after receiving some paperwork from two cops they hadn't previously seen at a Yangon restaurants. The defense's main argument is with Moe Yan Naing, the head of the defense, who stated in front of the courts that he was called upon to "catch" one of the two investigators by giving them the document as a plea for bust.
Right-wing groups and international commentators criticized the case against the couple as an attack on the independence of the masses and as an attempt to suffocate coverage of the Rohingya war. "It is a dark night for Myanmar's free press," said Tirana Hassan, head of Amnesty International's rapid reaction, describing the ruling as "absurd" and "politically motivating".
We are not guilty." At the trial, Kyaw Soe Oo disputed any misconduct and said: "We' re extremely frustrated that the tribunal has refused to end this lengthy and unfounded trial," said Reuters Editor-in-Chief Stephen Adler in a declaration.