Yangon’s World Press Freedom Day and the release of Reuters’ imprisoned journalists

Photo: Embassy of Denmark in Myanmar

Due to the Press Freedom Day approching on Friday, May 3 2019, the Embassies of Denmark and Sweden participated in two different events on media freedom taking place in Yangon, Myanmar.

On May 3, the Embassy of Denmark attended an event hosted by Myanmar Press Council at Yangon City Hall to mark the World Press Freedom Day 2019.

One of the keynote speakers, U Ohn Kyaing, Chairman of the Press Council highlighted the important role of having a free media for the democratic transition and called for protection of the press and media.

While Embassy of Sweden Section Office led by the Head of the Swedish Section Office Johan Hallenborg, attended the panel discussion “Media for Democracy: Journalism and Elections in Times of Disinformation” to discuss the topics involving in World Press Freedom Day.

Organized by EU, UNESCO and Embassy of the Netherlands, the event aimed to provide participants significant information about the role of the media in elections, social media and fake news to create awareness about World Press Freedom Day and human right in Myanmar.

Photo: Embassy of Sweden Section Office in Yangon

Embassy of Sweden Section Office in Yangon expressed their concern toward the freedom of speech and expression violation in Myanmar and also thier commitment to continuously support Myanmar in the future.

“Sweden will continue to support independent media, human rights promoters and defenders, as well as other civil society actors in Myanmar in the years to come,” wrote the Embassy on their Facebook page.

Among the noticeable speakers, there were Pan Ei Mon and Chit Su Win—both of them are the wives of Reuters imprisoned journalists , Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo respectively.

Arrested in December 2017 for violating the Official Secrets Act while investigating the killing of 10 Rohingya men, Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo recently have been awarded the prestigious UNESCO Guillermo Cano Press Freedom Prize for 2019. Also in early April, thier investigation won the Pulitzer Prize for international reporting.

**On the latest update, Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo are released from the prison earlier today, May 7, 2019 after spending more than 500 days behind cages.

Reuters reported that the release of Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo is under a presidential amnesty for 6,520 prisoners who were pardoned by Win Myint, Myanmar’s President since April 17, 2019.

“I’m really happy and excited to see my family and my colleagues. I can’t wait to go to my newsroom,” Wa Lone told Reuters while walked out of the gates of Insein Prison along with his colleague, Kyaw Soe Oo.

WATCH: the moment Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo reunite with their families after being freed from jail in Myanmar.

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