UN / PRESS BEHIND BARS

28-Sep-2018 00:03:02
Speaking today at the United Nations in New York, Amal Clooney, human rights activist and lawyer, called on Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi to free imprisoned Reuters journalists and said “history will judge her on her response.” UNIFEED
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STORY: UN / PRESS BEHIND BARS
TRT: 3:02
SOURCE: UNIFEED
RESTRICTIONS: NONE
LANGUAGE: ENGLISH /NATS

DATELINE: 28 SEPTEMBER 2018, NEW YORK CITY
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RECENT

1. Exterior, UN Headquarters

28 SEPTEMBER 2018, NEW YORK CITY

2. Wide shot, Simon at the lectern
3. SOUNDBITE (English) Joel Simon, Executive Director, Committee to Protect Journalists:
“The jailing of journalists has reached unprecedented levels. At the end of last year, there were 262 journalists jailed around the world, the highest number ever recorded by the CPJ. The jailing of journalists is a brutal form of censorship that is having a profound impact on the flow of information around the world. The time has come to speak up and to name names.”
4. Wide shot, Adler going to lectern
5. SOUNDBITE (English) Stephen Adler, President and Editor-in-Chief, Reuters:
“Their arrest was clearly aimed at unmasking Reuters’ sources and preventing us from publishing the account of the massacre. Intimidation was severe. Our reporters were handcuffed, hooded, continuously interrogated, threatened and denied sleep. Two weeks passed before their families, lawyers or we at Reuters had any idea where they were.”
6. Wide shot, Adler at lectern
7. SOUNDBITE (English) Stephen Adler, President and Editor-in-Chief, Reuters:
“However, the mistreatment of Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo is not just about these two reporters, or about Reuters or even about Myanmar. The attack on them is a chilly warning to other journalists worldwide. Myanmar is not the only country where attempts are made to deter investigative news gathering scare sources and whistleblowers, dim the spotlight of reporting and thereby allow officials to act in darkness, with impunity. The community of nations cannot condone this – we must stand for the rule of law, for ideal and the practice of democracy. And those cannot flourish without a free flow of information.”
8. Wide shot, Adler leaving
9. SOUNDBITE (English) Amal Clooney, lawyer for Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo:
“Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo for almost a year have been separated from their young families and paraded into a courtroom for a sham trial. Their conviction and the seven-year sentence are a travesty of justice and it is up to the government to set them free. The prosecutor’s story, accepted wholesale by the court, is not only fabricated, but totally implausible.”
10. Med shot, audience
11. SOUNDBITE (English) Amal Clooney, lawyer for Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo:
“Aung San Suu Kyi knows better than anyone what is it like to be a political prisoner in Myanmar. She has slept in a cell in the prison where Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo now sleep. But today, she holds the key. The key to their liberty, the key to reuniting them with their young children, the key to freedom of the press. The key to truth and accountability and the key to more democratic and prosperous Myanmar. History will judge her on her response.”
12. Wide shot, applause
STORYLINE
The event called “Press behind bars – Undermining Justice and Democracy” with special highlight on imprisonment of journalists globally, was held Friday (28 Sep) on the sidelines of the 73rd General Assembly.

Opening the event, Joel Simon, Executive Director of the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) said “the jailing of journalists has reached unprecedented levels. At the end of last year, there were 262 journalists jailed around the world, the highest number ever recorded by the CPJ.”

Out of 262 jailed journalists globally at the end of 2017, 73 were in prisons in Turkey, 41 in China and 20 in Egypt.

Simon also said ‘the jailing of journalists is a brutal form of censorship that is having a profound impact on the flow of information around the world. The time has come to speak up and to name names.”

A large part of event was dedicated to Reuters’ journalists from Myanmar, Wa Lone, 32, and Kyaw Soe Oo, 28, who were sentenced for breached the colonial-era Official Secrets Act when they collected and obtained confidential documents, according to Yangon northern district judge Ye Lwin.

At the time of their arrest in December 2017, Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo were reporting on the government’s crackdown on Rohingya Muslim insurgents in Rakhine state of Myanmar. Their work was instrumental in uncovering the details of a massacre of ten Rohingya men, as published by the Reuters news agency shortly after their arrest.

Speaking at the event, Editor-in-Chief, Reuters Stephen Adler said the arrest of Reuters’ journalists “was clearly aimed at unmasking Reuters’ sources and preventing us from publishing the account of the massacre.”

Adler said “our reporters were handcuffed, hooded, continuously interrogated, threatened and denied sleep. Two weeks passed before their families, lawyers or we at Reuters had any idea where they were.”

A human rights lawyer Amal Clooney who represents Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo, said her clients were “paraded into a courtroom for a sham trial” and she labeled their conviction and the seven-year sentence “a travesty of justice.”

Giving detailed explanation of why she thinks the legal process was flawed, Clooney said "the prosecutor’s story, accepted wholesale by the court, is not only fabricated, but totally implausible.”

The faith of imprisoned journalists is now in the hands of the government, Clooney said and called on the country’s leader Aung San Suu Kyi to act and free them.

She said “Aung San Suu Kyi knows better than anyone what is it like to be a political prisoner in Myanmar. She has slept in a cell in the prison where Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo now sleep” and added “history will judge her on her response.”

Aung San Suu Kyi, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate and Myanmar’s Prime Minister was herself prosecuted by the Myanmar military dictatorship in 1989. Lately, she has drawn repeated criticism from many countries and organizations, including the UN Human Rights Office, over her inaction on the Myanmar’s security forces' prosecution of the Rohingya people.
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