The arrests are the latest sign of withering press freedoms in the country and come a month after a crew of journalists working for TRT World was sentenced to two months in jail for being in possession of an "unlicensed" drone.

The arrests are the latest sign of withering press freedoms which started to blossom in Myanmar after the end of junta rule in 2011.
The arrests are the latest sign of withering press freedoms which started to blossom in Myanmar after the end of junta rule in 2011. (Reuters)

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 and Kyaw Soe Oo, had been arrested, provide details of the action they faced or explain what case he was referring to.

Reuters global communications chief Abbe Serphos said: "We are urgently seeking more information about the circumstances of their arrest and their current situation."

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 arrests are the latest sign of withering press freedoms which started to blossom in Myanmar after the end of junta rule in 2011.

A crew of journalists working for TRT World was sentenced to two months in jail for being in possession of a drone in Myanmar on November 10, 2017.
A crew of journalists working for TRT World was sentenced to two months in jail for being in possession of a drone in Myanmar on November 10, 2017. (TRTWorld)

TRT World journalists arrested in October

In October, a crew of journalists working for TRT World, Turkey's English-language public broadcaster, were arrested in the capital Naypyidaw for allegedly being in possession of an "unlicensed" drone.

Journalist Mok Choy Lin, along with her freelance crew members — a Singaporean cameraman named Lau Hon Meng, an interpreter Aung Naing Soe and their driver Hla Tin — were working on a documentary for the broadcaster.

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."

Source: Reuters