On Tuesday, Reuters journalists Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo were honored at the PEN America Literary Gala in New York. Attending on their behalf to accept the PEN/Barbey Freedom to Write Award were Wa Lone’s brother Thura Aung and brother-in-law Win Khant Kyaw, and Kyaw Soe Oo’s wife Chit Thu Win, sister Nyo Nyo Aye and daughter Moe Thin Wai Zin.
Author Margaret Atwood presented the award – which recognizes an imprisoned writer targeted for exercising freedom of speech – and read a personal message from Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo. “We are grateful for the support of PEN America, Reuters and all those others working on our behalf to help us regain our freedom. The award is an encouragement that we have the backing of people from around the world who love the freedom of the press and democratic values. We desperately miss our families, our friends and our newsroom. Your encouragement fortifies our hopes,” they wrote from prison.
Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo were also honored at a luncheon in New York on Wednesday by Asia Society, where Reuters Asia Regional Editor Kevin Krolicki and Reuters Myanmar Correspondent Shoon Naing accepted the Osborn Elliott Award on their behalf.
Jury Chair Marcus Brauchli introduced the prize, noting that, “Four years ago, Reuters won the Osborn Elliott Prize for their coverage of the plight of the Rohingya. They have continued to prioritize coverage of the Rohingya’s desperate situation, backing reporting like that done by Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo, and providing the earliest accounts of the horrific violence and sustained campaigns of ethnic cleansing in Myanmar. Work like this requires tenacity, commitment, and fearlessness.”
Krolicki and Naing then joined Irrawaddy reporter Lawi Weng and moderator Deborah Amos, an NPR correspondent, to discuss Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo’s work and the challenges facing reporters and news organizations covering the situation of the Rohingya.
[Reuters Press Blog]
Heather.Carpenter at thomsonreuters.com