Two Reuters journalists jailed in Myanmar: A poor rice farmer's son and a poet

Wa Lone, one of the two Reuters journalists ...

Posted: Sep 3, 2018 7:01 PM
Updated: Sep 3, 2018 7:01 PM

Wa Lone, one of the two Reuters journalists sentenced to seven years prison in Myanmar on Monday for their reporting on the Rohingya crisis, knew what it was like to be poor.

He grew up in a small village of around 100 households north of Mandalay, one of a family of five children. His parents were rice farmers and there was little money to go around, according to Reuters. His mother died of cancer when he was a child.

Agriculture

Agriculture, forestry, and commercial fishing

Asia

Books and reading

Business and industry sectors

Business, economy and trade

Companies

Continents and regions

Crop production

Freedom of press

Grain and feed crops

Human rights

International relations and national security

Journalism and news media

Leisure and lifestyle

Media industry

Minority and ethnic groups

Myanmar

Poetry

Rohingya people

Society

Southeast Asia

Thomson Reuters Corp

Wa Lone developed a hunger for news at an early age, huddled round the one television of the village.

"Sometimes he would play at being an anchor," his younger brother Thura Aung told Reuters late last year. "He always said he wanted to be a reporter in the future."

Wa Lone finished school, but lack of funds meant he had to drop out of technical college at 16.

Around 2004 he went to live in a Buddhist monastery in Mawlamyine where his uncle was a monk. He would wake at dawn to cook and clean before going off to a job he had found in a photography shop. Later he would start his own photo business with his brother.

In December 2010, the brothers moved to Yangon, where they re-established their photo-services business, according to Reuters. Wa Lone also joined a media training school and began to learn English.

Six months later he got his first journalism job on a weekly paper, the People's Age. The editor at the time was Pe Myint -- now Myanmar's Minister of Information -- according to Reuters.

Wa Lone joined Reuters in July 2016 a couple of months after he married Pan Ei Mon and just as the Rohingya crisis erupted. His first story on the Reuters website was about a UN human rights investigator pointing the finger at the government.

"Wa Lone was in the first group in reporting about eight Rohingya women and girls raped at U Shey Kya village in Northern Maungdaw Township after the 9th October, 2016 attack," Nay San Lwin, a Myanmar activist and blogger, told CNN. "A couple of days before his wedding he was in Maungdaw reporting about the Rohingya."

He still found time to write a children's book, "The Gardener," which was published in Burmese and English and contained an environmental message.

But his diligent reporting apparently proved too much for the Myanmar government and he was arrested in December 2017. Wa Lone has yet to see his new daughter, who was born just three weeks ago.

A poet from Rakhine state

Arrested with Wa Lone was his friend and colleague Kyaw Soe Oo, 28, who was a poet before becoming a journalist.

Hailing from Rakhine state, he started his career as a journalist with the online Rakhine Development News.

An ethnic Buddhist, Kyaw Soe Oo had five siblings, according to Reuters.

"He is a good elder brother," his sister, Nyo Nyo Aye, told Reuters following her brother's arrest last year. "He was always with books. He went to the bookstore or second-hand booksellers. He spent all his money buying books."

He had only been a journalist with Reuters for three months before being arrested.

"Both have good humanity," Nay San Lwin, the activist, told CNN. "Unlike other Burmese journalists in Myanmar, they called us Rohingya. They reported about us tirelessly. We are very sad they have been sentenced to seven years with hard labor for reporting our issue. We are praying for them."

Kyaw Soe Oo has a three-year-old daughter. Following the announcement of the verdict on Monday, his wife, Chit Su Win, burst into tears, Reuters reported.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 259117

Reported Deaths: 5668
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto17436187
Hinds16524328
Harrison13876199
Rankin11000217
Jackson10652187
Lee8981141
Madison8413168
Jones6552112
Forrest6101121
Lauderdale6034189
Lowndes5463119
Lafayette507393
Lamar496465
Washington4877124
Bolivar4068109
Oktibbeha401681
Panola378380
Pontotoc372155
Monroe3628105
Warren3619101
Union350563
Marshall349569
Neshoba3433152
Pearl River3380104
Leflore3079108
Lincoln300687
Sunflower289272
Hancock285360
Tate276762
Alcorn268854
Pike266580
Itawamba266261
Scott253448
Yazoo250156
Prentiss249552
Tippah245850
Copiah244549
Coahoma243654
Simpson240069
Leake234367
Grenada221171
Marion218473
Covington216972
Adams210170
Wayne206432
Winston205267
George202739
Attala195761
Newton195745
Tishomingo192461
Chickasaw186144
Jasper176038
Holmes169868
Clay162735
Tallahatchie154935
Stone148424
Clarke143562
Calhoun138021
Smith125825
Yalobusha120234
Walthall113437
Greene112129
Noxubee111425
Montgomery110936
Carroll105922
Lawrence104317
Perry103231
Amite99926
Webster94324
Tunica87621
Jefferson Davis87327
Claiborne86825
Benton84023
Humphreys83624
Kemper79120
Quitman7029
Franklin68716
Choctaw62313
Wilkinson58825
Jefferson55920
Sharkey44217
Issaquena1606
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 432536

Reported Deaths: 6379
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson63523957
Mobile30967562
Madison27627201
Tuscaloosa21122268
Montgomery19495326
Shelby18941126
Baldwin16798188
Lee12901102
Morgan12447129
Etowah11911178
Calhoun11365205
Marshall10322119
Houston8813156
Limestone823176
Cullman8159106
Elmore8056104
DeKalb7796102
Lauderdale773399
St. Clair7705122
Talladega6347109
Walker5993174
Jackson590341
Colbert543274
Blount541186
Autauga527061
Coffee454160
Dale405482
Franklin371948
Russell345712
Chilton340972
Covington334168
Escambia328344
Dallas310196
Chambers297370
Clarke290536
Tallapoosa2665107
Pike258830
Marion250155
Lawrence249150
Winston231442
Bibb219848
Geneva206946
Marengo205229
Pickens198631
Hale180842
Barbour177836
Fayette174528
Butler171358
Cherokee162530
Henry157523
Monroe150718
Randolph143236
Washington139527
Clay128546
Crenshaw121644
Cleburne119724
Lamar119621
Macon119637
Lowndes112536
Wilcox105822
Bullock101428
Perry99118
Conecuh96320
Sumter89726
Greene76723
Coosa62215
Choctaw51624
Out of AL00
Unassigned00
Tupelo
Clear
37° wxIcon
Hi: 57° Lo: 38°
Feels Like: 30°
Columbus
Clear
38° wxIcon
Hi: 55° Lo: 40°
Feels Like: 33°
Oxford
Clear
34° wxIcon
Hi: 55° Lo: 35°
Feels Like: 27°
Starkville
Partly Cloudy
39° wxIcon
Hi: 54° Lo: 40°
Feels Like: 36°
WTVA Radar
WTVA Temperatures
WTVA Severe Weather