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Two Reuters accused reporters of gaining state privileges in Myanmar.
They both argued "not guilty" and told the court that they had "followed the ethic of journalism". "We' re accused, but we' re not guilty," he said in cuffs when the officers put him in a handcuff. "Myanmar's government should allow reporters to come back to work and their families," it says in an article on Facebook.
"Today's ruling is a set-back for Myanmar's media freedoms and constitutional rule." Reuter's president and editor-in-chief Stephen J. Adler described the case against the reporter as "groundless". "Reuters have done their job in an unrelated and unbiased manner, and there is no fact or proof that they have done anything wrongful or violated any law," he said in a declaration.
Reuters journalists in Myanmar taken to court
On Monday, a Myanmar court decided that two detained Reuters journalists would be brought to justice, a ruling widely seen as a set-back for freedom of expression in a land under the leadership of former democratic icons Daw Aung San Suu Kyi. Sue the magistrate's ruling to prosecute the reporter for having obtained state secret destroyed any hopes that the reporter could be released without being brought to justice.
Reporter U Wa Lone, 32, and U Kyaw Soe Oo, 28, face up to 14 years in Myanmar under Myanmar's Law of Official Secrecy from the former colonies, and their case has been in a pre-trial stage since they were arrested in December. Monday's verdict will almost certainly lead to another round of nonprotection of Aung San Suu Kyi, a Nobel Peace Prize winner whose administration has succeeded a oppressive army june, but who herself has been largely charged with not protecting internal media freedom or stopping the racial purge of the Muslim Rohingya group.
Mr Wa Lone and Mr Kyaw Soe Oo were detained in December while in the far-west Rakhine state to investigate the September slaughter of 10 civilians from the Rohingya people. It was perpetrated during Myanmar military assaults on the Rohingya and Buddhaist mob - an attack that has driven tens of millions of refugees to Bangladesh and is commonly referred to as ethnoclear.
Reporter swore to battle the shipments, and Mr Wa Lone said on Monday that he would not give up. An attorney for the defence, U Khin Mg Zaw, said he did not anticipate the case to take longer than two month. Said he was optimistic that his client would be set free, but that free speech in the state was in danger.
They are also supported by Amal Clooney, an internationally recognised defender of humanitarian law. "Myanmar's media freedoms have not improved since then, " said Khin Mg Zaw, pointing to the regime that governed the nation for many years before Aung San Suu Kyi's side came to office in 2016, having won a landmark electoral war.
This ruling comes about four month after the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum revokes a respected Nobel Peace Prize awarded to Aung San Suu Kyi in 2012. Myanmar authorities have charged Myanmar authorities with trapping the two Reuters reporters with the use of paper trailers.
Speaking to the NHK television station in Japan, Aung San Suu Kyi said the journalists were imprisoned not because they covered up what she termed "the Rakhine question", but because they broke the Official Secrets Act. It was Myanmar's justice to decide whether she was guilty or innocent.
Nevertheless, the case is widely seen as an important driver of whether there is still free movement of the masses. "When the tribunal decides to bring criminal charges against Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo, it will send a clear message to the public that Myanmar's free movement of the public will be in great danger," said Summer Lopez, Sr. of free expression programmes at PEN America, in a declaration last weekend.