Following is a statement issued by the Alliance of Independent Journalists (AJI) Indonesia:
The Alliance of Independent Journalists (AJI) Indonesia has condemned the seven-year jail sentence issued by a Myanmar court against two Reuters journalists Wa Lone (32) and Kyaw Soe Oo (28). The verdict is a serious threat to press freedom, a bad precedent and a major setback for Myanmar’s democracy.
AJI Indonesia believes it is important for Myanmar and other countries in Southeast Asia to practice press freedom and speech freedom, as we are convinced that such practices will lead to transparency and accountability in government.
Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo were convicted by a Myanmar court for allegedly illegally possessing official documents. The two Reuters journalists were arrested after meeting police officers outside of Yangoon City.
They wrote reports about military attacks in Rakhine state. The attack resulted in around 650,000 of Rohingya Muslims fleeing to Bangladesh since August last year.
AJI Indonesia urges authorities in Myanmar to respect the rights of the two Reuters journalists in carrying out their profession as journalists, including their freedom of expression.
Through this statement, we also express our support for Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo, as well as Reuters, that has continuously sought for their release through legal efforts in Myanmar. We also call on organizations and individuals in the region to support Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo as part of our collective actions to safeguard press freedom in Southeast Asia.
AJI Indonesia President, Abdul Manan +62818-948-316
AJI Indonesia Coordinator for Advocacy Division, Sasmito Madrim +6285779708669