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Burmese journalists, activists rally for release of detained Reuters reporters

Protesters stage a march in favour of press freedom with a banner of detained Reuters journalists Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo in Yangon on 16 February 2018. (Image: Reuters)

Burmese journalists gathered to join a rally in Yangon on Friday, calling for the release of two Reuters journalists and campaigning for the public to “stand with the media” in support of press freedom.

About 50 people, including journalists from local media networks and activists, mostly wore black T-shirts with the inscription “Journalism is not a Crime” and held banners with the photographs of Wa Lone, 31, and Kyaw Soe Oo, 27.

The two reporters were arrested on 12 December, after being invited to meet police officials on the outskirts of Yangon, and accused of violating Burma’s colonial-era Official Secrets Act.

They had worked on stories about a military crackdown in Rakhine State, from where nearly 690,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled since August and sought refuge in Bangladesh, according to the United Nations.