U.S. Rep Mark Pocan
Press Release

Pocan Leads Members of Congress in Calling for Release of Journalists Detained in Burma

“In order for Burma to become a successful democracy, authorities must demonstrate their ability to defend and protect the internationally recognized right to freedom of expression, including freedom of the press.”

By - Jan 19th, 2018 04:34 pm

WASHINGTON, DCU.S. Representative Mark Pocan (WI-02) today led Members of Congress in writing to U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, urging the Donald Trump Administration to continue to work with authorities in Burma to secure the release of two journalists from Reuters and drop the charges against them. One of the journalists, Wa Lone, visited Madison, Wisconsin in June 2016 to visit an elementary school class that participated in a book drive for children in Burma.

On December 12, the Burmese government arrested Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo. Earlier this month, authorities formerly charged them with violating the country’s dated Official Secrets Act for their reporting on the horrific ethnic cleansing of Rohingya Muslims in the northern part of the country. The two journalists will have their next court hearing on January 23.

“Freedom of expression is under serious threat in Burma and the U.S. must continue to push Burmese authorities to end the trend of intimidation, harassment, and detention of journalists. One of the main recommendations from a U.N. commission formed to address the situation in Burma was to improve the freedom of journalists to observe and report on the situation in the Rakhine state,” wrote the Members. “In order for Burma to become a successful democracy, authorities must demonstrate their ability to defend and protect the internationally recognized right to freedom of expression, including freedom of the press.”

“Further, we strongly encourage the Trump Administration to continue the U.S.’s long history of embracing and protecting the freedom of the press. When a president denigrates journalists and their reporting as fake news, it gives license to other countries to crack down on the freedom of press, which can include intimidating, jailing, and torturing members of the media,” continued the Members. “The U.S. must continue to serve as an example for other countries, rather than allow oppressive regimes to take a cue and act in the same style as Burma.”

The full letter is available here.

Mentioned in This Press Release

Recent Press Releases by U.S. Rep Mark Pocan

Pocan Announces 2nd District Wins in 2021 House Spending Bills

Millions in funding for UW programs, F-35 noise mitigation and rural broadband.

Leave a Reply

You must be an Urban Milwaukee member to leave a comment. Membership, which includes a host of perks, including an ad-free website, tickets to marquee events like Summerfest, the Wisconsin State Fair and the Florentine Opera, a better photo browser and access to members-only, behind-the-scenes tours, starts at $9/month. Learn more.

Join now and cancel anytime.

If you are an existing member, sign-in to leave a comment.

Have questions? Need to report an error? Contact Us