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Two Reuters journalists arrested in Myanmar

Two Reuters journalists were arrested on Tuesday evening in Myanmar's main city, Yangon, a government spokesman said.

“Yes it is correct that they were arrested,” spokesman Zaw Htay said. “Not only your reporters, but also the policemen who were involved in that case. We will take action against those policemen and also the reporters.”

He did not say why the journalists, Wa Lone (photo) and Kyaw Soe Oo, had been arrested, provide details of the action they faced or explain what case he was referring to.

Editor-in-chief Stephen Adler said in a statement: “Reuters reporters Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo have been reporting on events of global importance in Myanmar, and we learned today that they have been arrested in connection with their work. We are outraged by this blatant attack on press freedom. We call for authorities to release them immediately.”

Wa Lone, who joined Reuters in June 2016, has covered a range of stories, including the Rohingya refugee crisis in Rakhine State. Kyaw Soe Oo has reported for Reuters since September. 

The US embassy in Yangon said in a statement posted on its website on Wednesday evening that it was “deeply concerned by the highly irregular arrests of two Reuters reporters after they were invited to meet with police officials in Yangon last night”.

“For a democracy to succeed, journalists need to be able to do their jobs freely,” the embassy said.

“We urge the government to explain these arrests and allow immediate access to the journalists.” ■