Myanmar new News todayNew Myanmar news today
Ahead of Myanmar lawsuit against Reuters Reporter for breach of NDA
The two Reuters journalists charged with violating Myanmar's dramatic confidentiality laws while covering a Rohingya assassination must be brought to justice, a court reporter said on Monday in a verdict quickly condemned as a "black day" for media freedoms in the state. Burmese citizens Wa Lone, 32, and Kyaw Soe Oo, 28, were detained in December and charged with having leaky delicate materials in connection with safety operation in the crisis-ridden Rakhine state.
Both of them, who have been in remand for almost seven month, were both indicted "under the State Secrecy Act", Judge Ye Lwin said to the Yangon Tribunal and set a first date for July 16. 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.
However, Judge Ye Lwin ruled that the public prosecutor's office had provided sufficient evidences that the men "collected" the proofs from state officers to bring the case to justice. Right-wing groups and international commentators criticised the complaint against them as an attack on press freedoms and an attempt to suffocate coverage of the Rohingya war.
"It is a dark night for Myanmar's media freedom," said Tirana Hassan, head of Amnesty International's rapid reaction, describing the ruling as "absurd" and "politically motivating". Art. 19 states that Myanmar's ruling "underlines far-reaching attempts to hinder coverage of the Rakhine state crises and euphemise the violation of people' s freedoms by the authorities".
Throughout the pretrial, the prosecutors reasoned that the journalists tried to obtain "secret papers" about securities and therefore deserve a fine. Reporter say they were included by the Police -- a variation of the cases apparently backed in front of the courts by a whistleblowing spindle, which attested that officials were ordered to field the reporter.
They had investigated a slaughter of ten Rohingya Muslims in the town of Inn Din in Rakhine state during last year's militarily conducted suppression of the Rohingya fighters. Prior to Reuters publishing his statement on the slaughter, Myanmar officials acknowledged that 10 Rohingya men had been extrajudicially murdered in the community and that several members of the police were later persecuted.
Myanmar has tried to say that Inn Din was an isolated event and not part of a broader racial clean-up against the Muslim Rohingya, as the UN and the US have claimed. He swore to combat the case by giving the journalist who was awaiting a stubborn "thumbs up" at every trial.
He said, "The courts have not decided that we are to blame. Kyaw Soe Oo disputed any misconduct in the courtroom and said: "I have worked as a reporter in accordance with ethical standards. "Army actions in August 2017 compelled more than 700,000 Rohingya, who are refused Myanmar nationality, to escape to Bangladesh. Taking with them shocking reports of the murders, rapes and fires in their communities by Myanmar's military personnel and Rakhine Buddhist people.
While the European Union, which sent monitors to the Reuters case in Yangon, has again called for the accusation against the reporters to be dismissed, the International Commission of Jurists said that the accusation did not provide reliable proof of misconduct. Celebrity attorney Amal Clooney, who is the spouse of George, joins the Reuters Litigation Committee in March to give her defense strength and stature.
"We' re extremely frustrated that the tribunal has refused to end this lengthy and unfounded trial," said Reuters Editor-in-Chief Stephen J. Adler in a declaration.