Building peace in the minds of men and women

Director-General welcomes the release of two Reuters journalists, laureates of the UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize

07 May 2019

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© Ann Wang / courtesy of Reuters

Paris, 7 May - UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay welcomes the release of two Myanmar journalists, Kyaw Soe Oo and Wa Lone, the two laureates of the 2019 UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize. The two journalists were granted amnesty today by Myanmar's President, Win Myint.

"Four days after the celebration of World Press Freedom Day, when they were awarded the UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize, I welcome the decision to release Kyaw Soe Oo and Wa Lone. This is a relief for them, their loved ones, but also a positive step forward for press freedom. UNESCO recalls that it is essential to the functioning of our democracies that journalists can carry out their mission without fear of reprisals," she said. "Through their dedication and courage, Kyaw Soe Oo and Wa Lone are an inspiration to all those who fight to defend press freedom," she continued.

Both journalists were employees of the Reuters News Agency at the time of their arrest in Yangon on 12 December 2017, investigating allegations of human rights violations in Rakhine State, Myanmar. UNESCO Director-General awarded them the UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize on the recommendation of an international jury of media professionals. The award ceremony was held in their absence on 2 May in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, where the main celebrations of World Press Freedom Day (3 May) were held.