Detained Reuters news agency journalists Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo were awarded the British Journalism Awards, at a ceremony in London, according to a report by Reuters.
The two journalists were detained for investigating a massacre of ten Rohingya men and boys in a village in western Myanmar’s Rakhine state. Both were honoured with the Foreign Affairs Journalism category and Investigation of the Year – Global for ‘Massacre in Myanmar’.
The verdict had been ruled under the official secrets law for illegal possession of official documents.
According to the report, British journalism Awards judges said: “This was a top class investigation which was meticulously researched. We’ve seen a lot of stories about the plight of Rohingya refugees but this story exposed what they were running away from. Their arrest reminds of the price journalists can pay for going into difficult areas and uncovering uncomfortable truths.”
Both of the detainees were also earlier awarded with a Foreign Press Association Media Award, PEN/Barbey Freedom to Write award, the Osborn Elliot Prize, a One World Media Award, the James Foley Medill Medal for Courage in Journalism, the Don Bolles Medal from IRE, and the Aubuchon Press Freedom Award from the National Press Club, the report stated.
The Myanmar government has been under intensive international criticism following a military crackdown in the western state of Rakhine that pushed some 700,000 Rohingya across the border into Bangladesh amidst accusations of mass rape, murder and torture.
Tensions escalated after the government rejected the 440-page UN report on the crackdown, which stated that top military leaders should be prosecuted for war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide for their role in the crackdown.
The UN investigation was “flawed, biased and politically motivated”, Myanmar’s council representative, while rejecting the report’s findings, had said.