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Myanmar: Draconian law used against Reuters reporters

11 January 2018, 12:43:00

Burma may have a new name and a democratically elected government, but the oppressive laws introduced by British colonial overlords are again the preferred weapon of choice when dealing with critical journalists. 

On December 12, reporters Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo from the Reuters news agency were handed a rolled up document by two police officers. They said they had just returned from Myanmar's troubled Rakhine state, where more than 650,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled a brutal military crackdown, sparked by a series of rebel attacks on security forces in August. 

Upon leaving the restaurant where the four men met, Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo were promptly arrested by seven policemen, patiently waiting outside. 

Myanmar's Ministry of Information said the pair "illegally acquired information with the intention to share it with foreign media". The families of the reporters – both of whom had been working on stories about the military's operation in Rakhine state – said they were lured into a trap.

"The situation for press freedom in Myanmar has got a lot worse since the Rohingya crisis began," said Daniel Bastard from Reporters Without Border's Asia-Pacific desk.

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