A court in Myanmar is expected to release its verdict and findings today in a trial involving two Reuters journalists accused of illegally acquiring state secrets.
The case has become a major test for Myanmar’s nascent democracy and commitment to a free press and the rule of law. The two journalists, Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo, were charged with holding state documents relating to the persecution of the Rohingya population in the country. The case has tested Myanmar’s judicial system due to the alleged involvement of the police and military in possibly planting the information on the two journalists while they investigated Rohingya killings in a western region.
While there is a likelihood of an acquittal in the trial, the nature of the charges and the connection of the country’s authorities to central parts of the alleged crimes continue to raise concerns about press freedom in Myanmar. A pressure campaign from Western leaders and civil society organisations is hoped to aid in the effort for an acquittal, with the prospect of economic sanctions being imposed.
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Kai looks at security and political turbulence in the emerging market economies and also serves as a publisher with The Daily Brief.