Local reporters, political activists demand release of jailed Reuters reporters in Pyay

Wai Lin (Pyay)

Reporters and political forces staged a protest in Pyay town, Bago Region, on September 4 demanding the release of two Reuters reporters sentenced to seven years in jail for breaching official secrets act, and press freedom.

The protest rally was held in front of the Youth Centre near the statue of General Aung San in Pyay with the participation of about 20 local reporters and about 30 activists from Pyay University Student Union and political organizations.

"We strongly denounce the jailing of Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo. We hereby demand prompt of release of them. They were forcibly put in jail under the unfair laws. While attention is being paid to them, I am concerned that the case of police lieutenant major Yan Naing would be forgotten. We also demand justice for him.

In the protest organised by Myaylat Journalist Network, the demonstrators held placards reading "Free Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo," and "Right to Information." A petition was also signed for the release of the reporters.

"We joined the protest as we condemn the sentencing of Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo. Reporters are important as the fourth estate in nation building tasks. Are the government and the home affairs minister threatening journalists? Are they jailing them just because of revealing the truth? I want to ask so," said Kyaw Ye Thu, vice chairman of the Pyay University Student Union.

Yangon North District Court sentenced the two Reuters reporters to seven years in prison for violating Section 3(1)(c) of State Official Secrets Act on September 3.