>> Myanmar media and activists have joined global condemnation on Tuesday, after the jailing of two Reuters journalists in the country. The Myanmar Times, a private newspaper, called it a blow to press freedom. The two reporters, Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo, have been sentenced to seven years in prison under the country's colonial era Official Secret's Act.
The reporters were investigating the killing of villagers from the Rohingya Muslim minority by security forces and civilians when they were arrested in December. Leaving the courthouse in Yangon on Monday, Wa Lone told waiting media they had done nothing wrong.>>
> We will calmly face the situation with our best efforts in the appeal.
Since we didn't do anything, we have no fear.>> It's a case that's widely seen as a test of progress towards democracy in Myanmar. And once the verdict was handed down, global reaction was swift. U.N. Secretary General Antonio Gutierres urged Myanmar to review the decision calling the verdict unacceptable.
US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley called for immediate release of the Reuters reporters. Saying, it was quote clear to all that the Burmese military has committed vast atrocities. Outside the courthouse the British ambassador to Myanmar spoke on behalf of EU members.>> Sort of struck a hammer blow to the rule of law because having seen the case throughout, we believe the judge has ignored the evidence and actually broke Myanmar laws.
So it's a bad day for Myanmar.>> The judge ruled the two reporters breached the Official Secrets Act when they handled documents related to security forces. In testimony, the reporters had said two policemen handed them papers at a restaurant in December, moments before other officers arrested them. A Myanmar government spokesman could not be reached for comment on the verdict.
However, he has said Myanmar's courts were independent and the case would be conducted according to law.