Statement from Stephen J. Adler, President and Editor-In-Chief, Reuters

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Statement from Stephen J. Adler, President and Editor-In-Chief, Reuters

After news of the arrest was released, the U.S. embassy said it was "deeply concerned by the highly irregular arrests of two Reuters reporters".

"For a democracy to succeed, journalists need to be able to do their jobs freely", the statement said.

Stephen J. Adler, the president and editor-in-chief of Reuters, said in a statement: "Reuters reporters Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo have been reporting on events of global importance in Myanmar, and we learned today that they have been arrested in connection with their work".

Reuters news agency called on Myanmar to immediately release its two journalists who were arrested for possessing "important secret papers" obtained from two policemen who had worked in Rakhine state, where violence widely blamed on security forces has forced more than 625,000 minority Rohingya Muslims to flee into neighboring Bangladesh.

An estimated 646,000 Rohingya Muslims fled the region to neighboring Bangladesh during a recent brutal military crackdown which began on August 25 following deadly attacks by Muslim militants.

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Ko Wa Lone, 31, and Ko Kyaw Soe Oo, 27, were walking north on the Number 3 Main Road in Mingalardon Township, near the corner of Nilar Road, at 11:30pm on Tuesday.

Myanmar's colonial-era Official Secrets Act has a maximum prison sentence of 14 years.

After their disappearance Tuesday evening, the journalists' colleagues in Rangoon have since filed a missing persons report, visited three police station and inquired with several government officials about what may have happened to the two reporters.

"We are very concerned about the arrests of these two journalists", he said. Besides a single photo distributed by the Ministry of Information of the two journalists in handcuffs, standing next to a table full of documents, little has been made known about their location or the nature of their arrest.

Government spokesman Zaw Htay said police officers "involved in that case" were also arrested and the government "will take action against those policemen and also the reporters". "Journalists across Burma have also come under increasing pressure for criticizing the government and military". In November, a judge jailed two journalists on assignment for TRT World, the English-language subsidiary of the Turkish Radio and Television Corp., who had been flying a drone near parliament without permission, according to Reuters.

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