Ulysses was banned in America for a short time and so it is fitting that we cast a light on continuing repression of literary expression and honest journalism throughout the world.
We have petitioned in the past on behalf of writers such as Vaclav Havel, Xu Wenli, Aung San Suu Ky, Daniel Pearl, Anna Politkovskaya, and Rael Badwawi, who is still at this writing in a Saudi Arabian prison sentenced to 10 years for merely writing words of dissent.
Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo are two such individuals now unjustly held since December in a Myanmar prison for covering the ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya.
The two reporters had been working on a Reuters investigation into the killing of 10 Rohingya Muslim men who were buried in a mass grave in northern Rakhine state after being hacked to death or shot by ethnic Rakhine Buddhist neighbors and soldiers.
After Reuters published its report on the killings on Feb. 8, calls have mounted for the release of the two reporters. The United States said at a meeting of the U.N. Security Council on Tuesday that Myanmar had “the gall to blame the media” for the situation in Rakhine and demanded that the reporters be freed.
“For the crime of reporting the truth, the Burmese (Myanmar) government arrested and imprisoned the reporters,” said Nikki Haley, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. “Unhindered media access is vitally important. Journalists like the two imprisoned Reuters reporters are an indispensable source of information.”
Britain, France, the Netherlands and Kazakhstan also called at the meeting for the release of the reporters.
Myanmar U.N. Ambassador Hau Do Suan said Myanmar recognizes freedom of the press and the journalists were not arrested for reporting a story, but were accused of “illegally possessing confidential government documents”.
Nearly 690,000 Rohingya have fled Rakhine and taken refuge in neighboring Bangladesh since the Myanmar military launched a crackdown on insurgents at the end of August, according to the United Nations.
We join Amnesty International USA in demanding their immediate release.