Kyaw Soe Oo And Wa Lone
Kyaw Soe Oo And Wa Lone

Two Reuters reporters – Kyaw Soe Oo and Wa Lone, jailed by the Myanmar authorities, have jointly received the 2019 UNESCO/Guillermo Cano Press Freedom Prize.

This was announced by the Jury at the World Press Freedom Day celebration held in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa.

The prize recognizes outstanding contributions of journalists to the defence and promotion of press freedom, especially in the face of danger or threats.

It is named after Guillermo Cano Isaza, a Colombian journalist, who was assassinated in front of the offices of his newspaper, El Espectador, in Bogotá, Colombia, on December 17, 1986.

The pair were arrested and thrown into jail on December 12, 2017, for allegedly breaking the country’s official secret law.

They have been languishing in prison since December 12, 2017 – doing seven years each.

Wojciech Tochman, President of the Jury, applauded their hard work and courage and said they were had been incarcerated because “they documented a taboo topic regarding crimes committed against Rohingyas”.

“Both from modest, provincial backgrounds, worked hard to pursue careers that would have been impossible in the junta era into which they were born.”

Their selection for the prize, he added, “pays tribute to their courage, resistance and commitment to freedom of expression”.

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