Reuters Journalists Working to Expose a Mass Grave in Myanmar Have Been Charged

Prosecutors in Myanmar have formally charged two Reuters journalists with obtaining state secrets—an alleged violation of the authoritarian country’s Official Secrets Act. U Wa Lone and U Kyaw Soe Oo were investigating a potential mass grave of Rohingya Muslim migrants in Rakhine state when they were arrested Dec. 12, shortly after allegedly obtaining “important secret papers” from two police officers. Police and security officials in the area are blamed for the internationally reported rights abuses perpetrated against Rohingya Muslims. From the back of a police vehicle, Wa Lone said Wednesday: “I want to tell you that that they are charging us like this to stop us finding the truth. Their actions are wrong and unfair.” If convicted, the pair could face as much as 14 years in prison. The news agency’s editor-in-chief, Stephen J. Adler, said he was “extremely disappointed” by the charges. “We view this as a wholly unwarranted, blatant attack on press freedom,” Adler said in a statement.