The arrest and prosecution of two Reuters journalists in Myanmar has cast a pall over media workers in the country, with veteran reporters and editors conveying fears that any journalist could be the next victim of intolerant authorities and colonial-era laws.
Reporters have expressed frustration with Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi’s civilian government, which has proven itself firmly in alignment with the country’s powerful military to repress critical coverage. International media organizations operating in Myanmar have begun publishing stories without bylines to protect their local reporters, who have faced escalating intimidation, harassment, and death threats from the public and the authorities. Some outlets have even temporarily shifted personnel out of Myanmar.
Those fears appear well founded: Myanmar-based Reuters reporters Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo now face up to 14 years in prison under Myanmar’s archaic Official State Secrets Act. The case is widely believed to be politically motivated.