The release of two Reuters journalists in Myanmar after more than 500 days behind bars is to be celebrated, but they should never have been arrested or imprisoned in the first place. Political change in Myanmar has not led to a loosening of restrictions on individual freedom. More must be done to press that government to promote democracy and human rights.

Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo were arrested in December 2017 while working on a story about the killings of Rohingya, a persecuted Muslim minority in Myanmar, by security forces in Rakhine state. While some Rohingya have lived in the country for generations, Myanmar’s government considers them to be illegal immigrants from Bangladesh. Human rights groups have likened the situation in Rakhine, where at least 10,000 Rohingya have been killed and hundreds of thousands of others forced to flee across the border, to ethnic cleansing. The government has insisted that security forces are fighting a bitter struggle with a Rohingya militant group and any violence was a response to the militants’ provocations.

Unable to view this article?

This could be due to a conflict with your ad-blocking or security software.

Please add japantimes.co.jp and piano.io to your list of allowed sites.

If this does not resolve the issue or you are unable to add the domains to your allowlist, please see out this support page.

We humbly apologize for the inconvenience.

In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.