Millennium Post

Reuters journos sentenced

Real journalists, who are in rigorous pursuit of truth even against all odds, are never scared by threats. But the two who had been reporting on the genocide of Rohingyas were arrested and now been sentenced to seven years of hard labour in Myanmar. Even as the world has responded with harsh criticism and the United Nations has asked for real justice to prevail, the authorities in Yangon are hearing none of it. Criticism and questions have been levelled at the once "Champion of Democracy", Nobel Peace laureate, Aung San Suu Kyi, but in vain. Is there an uneasy truce between her and the ruling military junta that has ensured her mystifying silence? Imagine, though, the plight of the arrested. A poor rice farmer's son and a poet Wa Lone, one of the two Reuters journalists sentenced to seven years prison in Myanmar knew what it was like to be poor. He developed a hunger for news at an early age. "Sometimes he would play at being an anchor," his younger brother Thura Aung told Reuters late last year. "He always said he wanted to be a reporter in the future." Wa Lone finished school and started his own photo business with his brother. He also joined a media training school and began to learn English. Six months later he got his first journalism job on a weekly paper. The editor at the time was Pe Myint, now Myanmar's Minister of Information. His first story on the Reuters website was about a UN human rights investigator pointing the finger at the government. "Wa Lone was in the first group in reporting about eight Rohingya women and girls raped at U Shey Kya village in Northern Maungdaw Township after the October 9, 2016 attack," Nay San Lwin, a Myanmar activist and blogger, said." A couple of days before his wedding he was in Maungdaw reporting about the Rohingyas." But his diligent reporting apparently proved too much for the Myanmar government and he was arrested in December 2017. He has yet to see his new daughter, who was born just three weeks ago. Arrested with Wa Lone was his friend and colleague Kyaw Soe Oo, 28, who was a poet before becoming a journalist. He was always with books. He spent all his money buying books. He had only been a journalist with Reuters for three months before being arrested. "Both have good humanity," Nay San Lwin, the activist, said. "Unlike other Burmese journalists in Myanmar, they called us Rohingya. They reported about us tirelessly. We are very sad they have been sentenced to seven years with hard labour for reporting our issue. We are praying for them." The whole conscientious world, too, is.

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