Britain says Reuters journalists jailed in Myanmar are innocent

Detained Reuters journalist Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo arrive at Insein court in Yangon, Myanmar August 27, 2018. (REUTERS)
Updated 22 December 2018

Britain says Reuters journalists jailed in Myanmar are innocent

  • They had been investigating the killing of 10 Rohingya men and boys as part of a military response to insurgent attacks

LONDON: British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said on Friday that two Reuters journalists jailed in Myanmar on charges of breaking the country’s Official Secrets Act were innocent and that Britain had serious concerns about due process in the case.
Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo were found guilty in September after a trial at a Yangon district court in a case that has raised questions about Myanmar’s progress toward democracy and triggered an outcry from diplomats and human rights advocates.
Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi said in September that the jailing of the reporters had nothing to do with freedom of expression. She said they were not jailed because they were journalists.
In a sign of the level of concern among world powers about the case, Britain’s foreign policy chief took the unusual step of recording a short video to show his support for the jailed Reuters journalists.
“We want the world to remember these two journalists, not just because we believe they are innocent, but also because this is a year when we have seen a big increase in the number of journalists who have been locked up and indeed far worse — murdered,” Hunt said.
There were 251 journalists jailed for doing their jobs as of Dec. 1, the Committee to Protect Journalists said in an annual study earlier this month.
At least 53 journalists were killed around the world between January 1 and December 14, 2018, according to the CPJ, a US-based nonprofit that promotes press freedom.
Britain’s Hunt said that at a time when people were looking forward to spending time with their families, it was time to reflect on the fate of the two Reuters journalists.
They “are both in prison this Christmas because they wanted to report of the Rakhine crisis where there has been some alleged genocide against the Rohingya people in Burma,” Hunt said.
The Reuters reporters, who pleaded not guilty, said they were handed papers by police shortly before they were detained, and a police witness testified that they had been set up.
They had been investigating the killing of 10 Rohingya men and boys as part of a military response to insurgent attacks.
“We are very worried about due process in this case — it is something that I have raised with Aung San Suu Kyi,” said Hunt. He did not elaborate further on the British concerns about the case.
Lawyers for the two Reuters reporters have lodged an appeal against their conviction and sentence.


Instagram begins letting users report misinformation

Updated 15 August 2019

Instagram begins letting users report misinformation

  • Instagram will allow users tap a “report” option on-screen when they see a post they deem dubious

SAN FRANCISCO: Instagram on Thursday added a way for users to easily report deceptive posts at the photo and video-oriented social network owned by Facebook.
A new tool being rolled out out lets Instagram users tap a “report” option on-screen when they see a post they deem dubious, then tap a “false information” tag to prompt review by third-party fact-checkers, according to Facebook spokeswoman Stephanie Otway.
The option was expected to be available to all Instagram users by the end of this month.
Such prompts will be one of several “signals” used to determine whether content should be scrutinized by fact-checkers, who will determine their veracity.
“Starting today, people can let us know if they see posts on Instagram they believe may be false,” Otway said.
“We’re investing heavily in limiting the spread of misinformation across our apps, and we plan to share more updates in the coming months.”
The world’s biggest social network has been cracking down on fraudulent influence campaigns and bogus posts as pressure has mounted for online platforms to defend against efforts to manipulate online conversations.
User-reported Instagram posts found to be bogus but not in violation of the service’s policies will not be deleted, but won’t appear when users use “explore” or hashtag searches to discover content.
“Explore and hashtags allow people on Instagram to find content they haven’t already chosen to follow, and by filtering misinformation from these places, we can significantly limit its reach,” Otway said.
Feedback from the new tool will be used to train artificial intelligence software to scan for, and rate, fake posts without waiting for them to be reported, according to Facebook.