Following a protest by Reuters journalists and editors outside their Asia-Pacific headquarters at 18 Science Park Drive on Monday (3 Sep), Singapore Police Force (SPF) has issued a warning to the public regarding organising and/or participating in a public assembly without a police permit, stressing that doing so would be illegal.
Persons who are found guilty of organising a public assembly without a police permit may be fined up to S$5,000, with repeat offenders potentially being fined double the aforementioned amount, sentenced to jail for up to six months, or both.
Speaking to The New Paper, a spokesperson for the SPF said that “Police are aware of an online movement [called] #FreeWaLoneKyawSoeOo”.
The spokesperson added that SPF will subsequently contact Reuters regarding a photo taken during the protest.
Social Media Editor for the Reuters bureau in the Asia-Pacific region, headquartered in Singapore, Aurindom Mukherjee tweeted the photograph in question, stating that Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo were unjustly imprisoned “for exposing a massacre by the Myanmar military”, adding that he and his colleagues at the Asia-Pacific Reuters headquarters “stand with them and call for their immediate release”:
In light of the arrest and subsequent imprisonment of two Reuters journalists Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo under Myanmar’s 1923 Official Secrets Act for allegedly “illegally acquiring the information with the intention to share it with foreign media”, their colleagues at Reuters newsrooms worldwide have protested against the Insein Court’s verdict on 3 Sep as a measure of solidarity via Twitter and using the #FreeWaLoneKyawSoeOo hashtag.
Reuters energy correspondent in Los Angeles Nichola Groom tweeted the following an an act of “solidarity with our two colleagues in Myanmar who were sentenced to 7 years in prison for doing their jobs and uncovering a massacre”: Journalist at the Reuters bureau in Mumbai Divya Chowdhury tweeted the following as she and her colleagues stand “in solidarity with our colleagues Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo, unjustly imprisoned for exposing a massacre by the Myanmar military”: Energy reporter for the Reuters bureau in Australia Sonali Paul tweeted the following photo standing in between her colleagues as a measure of “solidarity” in working to “free our unjustly imprisoned colleagues Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo in Myanmar”:
Oilfield services reporter at the Reuters bureau in Houston Liz Hampton tweeted the following, urging the public to “help support” the “two brave journalists”:
Healthcare reporter at the Reuters bureau in Washington D.C. Yasmeen Abutaleb tweeted the following, stating that “the @Reuters DC bureau and our newsrooms across the globe stand with our colleagues in Myanmar, who were sentenced to seven years in prison for superb journalism in uncovering a massacre’:
Reuters correspondent in Myanmar Poppy McPherson tweeted a photo of “a rare protest in the Rohingya camps” on Wednesday, in which the displaced Rohingya Muslims stood in solidarity at “a muddy sports field in a camp in Bangladesh” for Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo, who were imprisoned exactly for investigating a massacre against Rohingya Muslims by the Myanmar junta:
Ms McPherson had also tweeted a particular story of Abdu Shakur, whose son Rashid Ahmed’s persecution and murder by the Myanmar military was “exposed by [the] jailed @Reuters reporters”. Mr Abdu Shakur “called for their release” and believed that, just like his son, the journalists were innocent: