FCA calls on Sri Lanka to secure release of journalists in Myanmar

The Foreign Correspondents’ Association (FCA) of Sri Lanka is deeply concerned over the continued detention of two journalists in Myanmar and urge the authorities to release them without further delay.

The FCA Sri Lanka called on the Myanmar authorities to ensure due process and release Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo who were arrested on December 12 while practising their profession.

The FCA also urged the Government of Sri Lanka to use its good offices to secure the freedom of the two journalists employed by the Reuters international news agency.

The FCA of Sri Lanka was initiated three decades ago during the formative stages of the island’s Tamil separatist war and the height of a leftist insurgency and appreciate the pressures media personnel face while exercising their legitimate professional duties in such circumstances.

“We are concerned about reported moves of the Myanmar authorities to charge the two arrested journalists under the country’s archaic Official Secrets Act, which carries a prison sentence of 14 years. We believe that the arrest and detention of the two journalists could also seriously tarnish the image of Myanmar as a country moving towards democratic values and the rule of law,” FCA said.

The duo were arrested when they were reporting on and further investigating recent crackdowns in the Rakhine state against Rohingya Muslims leading to the mass exodus of over 655,000 people to neighbouring Bangladesh since August 2017.

FCA said it was also concerned about the conditions under which the two colleagues have been held in prison. (Colombo Gazette)