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Jailed Reuters reporters given Amnesty Media Award as they fight conviction

Jailed Reuters reporters Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo have won yet another award for their work as they continue to fight an appeal against their conviction.

The men, who have been behind bars in Myanmar since December 2017, won the Investigation award at the Amnesty Media Awards held in London last night.

Lone (pictured, left) and Soe Oo (right) were investigating the massacre of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar’s Rakhine State when they were arrested in what they told their trial was a set-up by policemen they had not met before who handed them documents.

They were found guilty last year of breaching the colonial-era Official Secrets Act by possessing government papers and jailed for seven years in September.

However they are currently appealing their conviction at Myanmar’s Supreme Court, citing evidence of a police set-up and lack of proof of a crime.

The pair, whose Massacre in Myanmar investigation was published after being completed by Reuters colleagues, have received a plethora of other awards including the Foreign Affairs Journalism prize and the Global Investigation of the Year at Press Gazette’s British Journalism Awards in December and, jointly, Journalist of the Year at the Foreign Press Association Media Awards a month earlier.

Lone and Soe Oo were also jointly named Time magazine’s Person of the Year and awarded the George Polk Award for Foreign Reporting in the US.

Other winners at the Amnesty awards, which celebrate excellence in human rights journalism, included Impact award recipient Guardian’s Amelia Gentleman for her work exposing the Windrush scandal and Channel 4 News for its film “Riding ‘the death train’ to America’s border” after US president Donald Trump tightened up the Mexican border.

Kate Allen, director of Amnesty International UK, said: “The reporting we’ve recognised has helped change lives – from the Windrush Generation in Britain to Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh.

“Without a free press, it’s extremely difficult to expose wrong-doing and hold leaders to account. But even here in the UK we’re seeing it being threatened – especially with the sinister arrest of Trevor Birney and Barry McCaffrey in Northern Ireland last year.

“That’s why our awards are about congratulating the achievements of the media and championing its role in creating a fairer, more open world.”

The awards, hosted by Channel 4 News presenter Cathy Newman, held a moment of silence for the approximately 90 journalists imprisoned last year for doing their jobs.

The ceremony also heard from Birney and McCaffrey who are currently on police bail in a case that could have a “chill factor” on press freedom.

Read the full list of winners.

Pictures: Reuters/Ann Wang

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