Jailing two Reuters journalists undermines press freedom and judicial independence

Writer: 
Lwin Myo Thu
 
The embassy of the United States of America to Myanmar issued a statement on conviction of two Reuters journalists—Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo.
 
The U.S embassy said in its statement that the case raises serious concerns about rule of law and judicial independence, calling on the government to release the pair immediately, to end the arbitrary prosecution of journalists doing their jobs.
 
The reporters’ conviction is a major setback to the Government of Myanmar's stated goal of expanding democratic freedoms, the statement said.
The European Union to Myanmar issued a statement, saying today's court decision to sentence Reuters reporters Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo to 7 years of imprisonment undermines the freedom of the media, the public's right to information and the development of the rule of law in Myanmar. 
Media freedom and critical journalism are essential pillars of democracy. A free press has a key function in promoting transparency and holding democratic governments to account.
 
We therefore reiterate our expectation that the authorities ensure adequate conditions for journalists to carry out their work. The prison sentences of Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo should be reviewed and the two journalists be released immediately and unconditionally.
 
Britain’s ambassador also said the verdict against two Reuters journalists has undermined media freedom in Myanmar.
 
The embassy of Netherlands issued a statement, saying press freedom is a fundamental pillar of democracy. It is an integral part of the right to freedom of expression. Journalists should be protected by law to keep authorities accountable. The law, and its interpretation thereof, should not become an instrument for those in power to silence and punish critical voices.
The embassy of Denmark called on the Government of Myanmar to undo this injustice, release Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo immediately and launch an investigation into allegations that they were set up by Myanmar’s police force.
 
Edited by Win Htut