- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 7, 2019

The White House hailed the release Tuesday of two Reuters journalists who spent over 500 days in a Myanmar prison after reporting on atrocities against Rohingya Muslims.

Wa Lone, 33, and Kyaw Soe Oo, 29, had been sentenced to seven years in prison but received pardons under a sweeping presidential amnesty around the traditional New Year, which began in April.

“We are delighted they will be reunited with their families. We hope that other jailed journalists in Burma will also be allowed their freedom,” Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said, using an alternate name for Myanmar.

Reuters, U.S. officials and global advocates frequently called for the release of the reporters, who received the Pulitzer Prize for international reporting but were charged with illegally disseminating secret information regarding national security.

Their arrests sparked an international outcry, since Myanmar appeared to be papering over alleged military abuses against the Rohingya.

Observers also said the episode cast the country’s transition to democracy into doubt.

“A free press, freedom of religion, and the rule of law are fundamental principles for any democracy,” Mrs. Sanders said. “The United States will continue promoting a stable, prosperous, and democratic transition in Burma.”

President Trump’s own treatment of the press has drawn scrutiny.

He publicly rails against reporting he doesn’t like, calling it “fake news,” and has dubbed parts of the media as “the enemy of the people.”

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