Myanmar Court Charges Reuters Journalists under Official Secrets Act

(From The Guardian)

Two Reuters journalists who uncovered a massacre of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar have been charged for violating the Official Secrets Act.

Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo were charged under the colonial-era 1923 act for allegedly illegally possessing state secrets in government documents and face up to 14 years in prison if convicted.

Before their arrest, the journalists were investigating the killing of 10 Rohingya men in the village of Inn Dinn in northern Rakhine state. Reuters published their report with accounts from villagers and security personnel in February.

The case has attracted global attention. Some western diplomats and rights groups say it is a test of progress towards full democracy under the administration of Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi in a country where the military still wields considerable influence.

Speaking outside the Yangon court on Monday, defence lawyer Khin Maung Zaw said he was “not satisfied” with the decision. When asked if this case represented “backsliding” press freedom in Myanmar he said: “If you say backsliding that would mean there has been an advance, but there has been no advance just a slippery slope.”

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