US 'deeply concerned' after Reuters reporters arrested in Myanmar

US 'deeply concerned' after Reuters reporters arrested in Myanmar
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The U.S. Embassy on Wednesday called for the Myanmar government to explain the arrests of two Reuters journalists after they were invited to meet with police officials in Yangon.

“For a democracy to succeed, journalists need to be able to do their jobs freely. We urge the government to explain these arrests and allow immediate access to the journalists,” the embassy in Naypyidaw said in a statement.

Reuters confirmed that reporters Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo were arrested late Tuesday in connection with their work.

“We are outraged by this blatant attack on press freedom. We call for authorities to release them immediately,” Reuters Editor-in-Chief Stephen Adler said in a statement


The Myanmar Ministry of Information said in a Facebook post that the reporters “illegally acquired information with the intention to share it with foreign media."

The reporters had been working on stories about military persecution of Rohingya Muslims, which has caused hundreds of thousands of people to flee to neighboring Bangladesh.

Secretary of State Rex TillersonRex Wayne TillersonDiplomats describe all-time low in morale at State under Trump Trump sends nomination for Russia ambassador to Senate Democrats eye Pompeo testimony MORE last month declared the violence against Rohingya Muslims “ethnic cleansing.” 

Myanmar, also known as Burma, has moved toward civilian rule in recent years after decades under a military junta, though the military retains significant power.