Statement on the detention in Bangladesh of two photojournalists from Myanmar

The professional membership of the Foreign Correspondents' Club of Thailand is disturbed to learn that two well-respected photojournalists -- Minzayar Oo and Hkun Lat -- have been detained in Bangladesh for alleged espionage.

Both are Myanmar nationals who between them have worked for Reuters, The Associated Press, The New York Times, and other high-profile outlets. Minzayar Oo belongs to the Panos Pictures agency.

Any suspicion that these photojournalists are involved in espionage is mistaken. Both are legitimate journalists and well regarded among Western media professionals.

Minzayar Oo's photos have sought to reveal corners of Myanmar that the government would likely prefer to keep hidden -- including state-run Rohingya camps plagued by disease. [See "Sick and In Crisis, https://widerimage.reuters.com/story/sick-and-in-crisis" published by Reuters in May of 2014.]

The careers of these two journalists have evinced sympathy for all who suffer -- and this includes Rohingya Muslims. They came to Bangladesh in early September to report on the overwhelming humanitarian crisis Bangladeshi officials face in caring for Rohingya fleeing Myanmar.

The professional membership of the FCCT respectfully urges the Bangladeshis authorities to clear these photojournalists of any espionage accusations and allow them to return home.

18 September 2017

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