EU demanded to release Two Myanmar journalists immediately

Vastavam web: Two Myanmar journalists working for an international newswire who have not been heard from since they were arrested last week should be immediately released, the EU demanded today.The sudden detention of reporters Wa Lone, 31, and Kyaw Soe Oo, 27, who work for Reuters, has spread fears about diminishing press freedoms in Myanmar, where Aung San Suu Kyi’s civilian government is under growing global pressure over human rights abuses.Their families, lawyers and colleagues from the international newswire have not been told where the two are, nor been allowed any contact with them.

“We expect the Myanmar authorities to ensure the full protection of their rights and to release the journalists as quickly as possible,” the EU said in a statement on Tuesday, adding its voice to calls from the United Nations and the United States.The pair had worked on Reuters’ coverage of the Rohingya crisis in northern Rakhine, where a brutal military-led crackdown has pushed some 655,000 people from the Muslim minority to flee to Bangladesh.The military insists its crackdown was a proportionate response to Rohingya militants who attacked police posts in August, killing around a dozen officers.

The journalists were arrested after accepting a dinner invitation from police officers on the outskirts of Yangon.”We and their families continue to be denied access to them or to the most basic information about their well-being and whereabouts,” said Stephen J Adler, Reuters editor-in- chief, adding that the pair were “innocent of any wrongdoing”.Sean Bain, a legal adviser with the International Commission of Jurists, said their situation “appears to constitute arbitrary detention”.”The latest arrests have further terrified many journalists in the country,” said Swe Win, a prominent Myanmar reporter who was detained earlier this year and is fighting his own online defamation case.