19 Journalists Suffered Attack In Nigeria Within Nine Months – Amnesty International

AFP photo



Amnesty International says no fewer than 19 journalists and media practitioners have suffered attack in Nigeria between January and September 2019.

The human rights organisation disclosed this in its report entitled, Endangered Voices: Attack On Freedom Of Expression In Nigeria.

In the 42-page document launched in Abuja on Monday, the group noted that the figure was the highest recorded in the country since 2015.

One of the cases highlighted in the report is that of Jones Abiri, a journalist based in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, who was arrested and detained for more than two years without trial for publishing a story about oil blocks and politics in Nigeria.

Another incident is that of Ahmed Salkida who was declared wanted by the Nigerian government for publishing an article and proof of life video of the Chibok schoolgirls abducted by Boko Haram, among other cases.

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Amnesty decried that the civic space has continued to shrink, stressing that clear examples of such were the attacks on freedom of information and expression as well as media freedom.

“Since 2015, attacks on journalists and media activists have continued unabated. Amnesty International has been closely monitoring these attacks and now reports on how they have contributed to the violation of other human rights in Nigeria.

“These attacks take the form of verbal and physical assault, as well as indiscriminate arrest and detention by Nigerian authorities,” Amnesty said in the executive summary page of the report.


Death Threats?

It accused the security forces of perpetrating most of the violations, adding that they occur when journalists and media practitioners seek access to information, share information or express critical views that could drive public opinion.

The group was worried that dissenting views expressed by media practitioners were often criminalised, particularly when they revolve around sensitive issues.

It also noted that there was stifling of freedom of expression in circumstances where journalists were pressured to disclose their sources of information.

“Those who spoke to Amnesty International confirmed that they came under intense pressure from Nigeria’s security officials to reveal their sources of information, particularly when they published stories that focused on corruption, elections, and armed conflict.

“Some of the journalists were kept under surveillance, while others received death threats via telephone calls from unidentified people.

“Many journalists also came under attack while reporting the 2019 General Elections across Nigeria,” the report revealed.

According to the group, the failure of the Nigerian government to investigate cases of indiscriminate arrest, detention, and prosecution of journalists and media practitioners ensures that perpetrators are not held to account for human rights violations.

It said while many of the victims faced indiscriminate charges such as ‘defamation’ and ‘terrorism’, others had charges such as ‘kidnapping’, criminal trespass and theft of state documents brought against them.

Amnesty accused the government at both federal and state levels of violating and repressing the human rights of bloggers, journalists, broadcasters and social media users.

It stated that the Nigerian authorities have legally binding obligations to respect, protect, promote and fulfill the rights to freedom of expression, freedom of information, media freedom and personal liberty in the country.

The group, therefore, asked the government to immediately end violations and abuses of the rights to freedom of expression, freedom of information, as well as media freedom and personal liberty.

It recommended that journalists, bloggers, and media activists must have access to information and be able to do their job freely without any fear of reprisal.

Amnesty also called for thorough and effective investigations into allegations of attacks against victims and bring to justice anyone suspected to be responsible through fair trials.

Among other demands, it called on the government to issue clear directives to the police, military, and other security agencies to refrain from applying existing laws in a manner that restricts or interferes with rights to freedom of expression.

2019 General Elections Is The ‘Most Extensively’ Covered Event In Nigeria – INEC

INEC To Conduct Supplementary Elections In Kano, Sokoto, Four Others March 23
File Photo: INEC Chairman, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, at a press conference in Abuja on March 7, 2019. Channels TV/ Sodiq Adelakun.


A total of 1,799 journalists from more than 150 domestic media organisations were accredited to cover the 2019 General Elections.

This is according to the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Mahmood Yakubu, who spoke at a meeting with the media to review the last general elections on Thursday in Abuja.

He also said that 332 journalists from 52 foreign media organisations from different parts of Africa, the Middle East, Europe, the Americas, Australia and Asia came to cover the elections, describing it as the ‘most extensively’ covered event in Nigeria in 2019.

Mr Yakubu added that the meeting is aimed at addressing salient aspects of the election processes that require improvement.

“The Headquarters of the Commission alone accredited 1,799 journalists from more than 150 domestic Media organisations to cover the 2019 General Election.

“Foreign Media presence was also impressive. We had 332 journalists from 52 foreign Media organisations from different parts of Africa, the Middle East, Europe, the Americas, Australia and Asia to cover the elections. It was, indeed, an engaging experience. The General Election was the most extensively covered event in Nigeria in 2019.

“The purpose of this meeting, therefore, is to discuss all the salient aspects of the process which require improvement. You were accredited to cover all aspects of the processes. The Commission wants to hear from you how processes can be improved upon.”

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He assured that all the observations will be considered during the Kogi and Bayelsa Governorship elections scheduled for Saturday 16th November 2019.

“Let me remind you that the Kogi and Bayelsa Governorship elections have been scheduled for Saturday 16th November 2019. I assure you that we will consider all the recommendations arising from this meeting that can be implemented administratively by the Commission before the conduct of the Governorship elections in the two States.”

New Guidelines: ‘It’s Not The Job Of NASS To Demand Tax Clearance From Journalists’

The publisher of National Daily Newspaper, Sylvester Ebodaghe, has questioned the National Assembly on the new guidelines released for the accreditation of journalists.

Ebodaghe during an interview on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, said it is not the job of the Parliament to demand a journalist’s tax clearance before authorising them to cover plenary.

“All around the world, we have guidelines. We are not against guidelines; we want you to be clear as to who is coming into your space.

“But to start demanding for tax clearance that you must have a patron or circulation figure verifiable of not less than 40,000, the US Congress is not asking for your patron. They just want to be sure that you are gainfully employed.

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“And that you will not abuse your privilege of having access to the chambers. And I think that is what we should be looking at. And not necessarily your tax clearance. They are not CAC; they are not FIRS. So it’s not their job to start asking for a tax clearance,” he said.

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His comment comes two days after the National Assembly released new guidelines for accreditation of media organisations, journalists/correspondents covering the Senate effective June 11, 2019.

NASS in a letter signed by its Director of Information, Agada Emmanuel noted that all previous accreditation granted will lapse with the dissolution of the 8th Assembly.

Ebodgahe during the interview on Wednesday recalled that when the Senate had issues on the invasion and theft of mace, the media was solidly behind it.

He then wondered why the Parliament would issue out such a directive suggesting it may have a problem with media practitioners.

“This Assembly when it came under intense pressure during the invasion and all the crisis it has gone through, the best friend the National Assembly had was the media.

“So what problem do they possibly have with the media? All the tweets that were reproduced on various platforms, they were enjoying the manage. So it didn’t really matter who was drawing the attention to their plight as it were,” he stated.

Meanwhile, Senate President, Bukola Saraki, has said that the leadership of the Eight Assembly are not aware of the new guidelines to journalists reporting the National Assembly.

The Speaker, on Tuesday, said the leadership of the legislative arm is committed to the freedom of the press and promised to investigate the allegation promptly.

Buhari Asks Journalists To Be Fair, Accurate While Reporting

President Muhammadu Buhari


President Muhammadu Buhari has felicitated with journalists on the World Press Freedom Day, asking them to be fair and accurate while reporting.

In a statement by Femi Adesina, the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity on Thursday, Buhari urged media practitioners to be rededicated to be the societal watchdogs.

“Journalists must constantly recommit to the canons of fairness, accuracy, objectivity, balance, and other ideas that guide their profession.

“On this occasion of World Press Freedom Day, I urge you to rededicate yourselves to the role of being watchdogs of society, while being mindful of the cohesion and equilibrium of that same society,” he stated.

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The President also reiterated his administration’s commitment to promoting the principles of transparency and press freedom for journalists to strive.

While appealing to reporters to be wary of people that would use the media to emphasize the nation’s fault lines, Buhari stated that the Federal Government “would continue to ensure that the media was not muzzled in any way, since democracy and freedom of expression were kindred spirits.”

“Our administration is committed to the highest levels of transparency, and we will guarantee press freedom at all times.

“We only require that the freedom be used responsibly, and for lofty ideals of national unity and development,” he added.

The World Press Freedom Day is observed every May 3 to celebrate fundamental principles of press freedom, evaluate press freedom around the world and defend the media from attacks on their independence.

It also seeks to pay tribute to journalists who have lost their lives in the exercise of their profession globally, especially in conflict-plagued countries.

Here in Nigeria, the theme of this year’s celebration is “Media for Democracy: Journalism and Elections in Times of Disinformation,” comes at a time when the nation recently conducted her general elections.

Myanmar’s Supreme Court Rejects Appeal By Reuters Journalists

This combo shows journalists Kyaw Soe Oo (L) and Wa Lone (R) being escorted by police after their sentencing by a court to jail in Yangon on September 3, 2018.  Ye Aung THU / AFP


Myanmar’s Supreme Court rejected an appeal Tuesday by two Reuters journalists jailed for seven years each on charges linked to their reporting on the Rohingya crisis, one of the defence lawyers confirmed.

Reporters Wa Lone, 33, and Kyaw Soe Oo, 29, have been behind bars since their arrest in December 2017 under the Official Secrets Act.

The initial conviction in September was upheld by the Yangon High Court in January.

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On Tuesday, the reporters were not at the Supreme Court in the capital Naypyidaw to hear the ruling that once again went against them.

“Our appeal was rejected,” Khin Maung Zaw told AFP. “They upheld the ruling of the lower court.”

Supporters believe thee pair have been punished for investigating a massacre of 10 Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar’s western Rakhine state in September 2017.

The story earned the team a Pulitzer Prize, one of the top honours in journalism.

Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo were convicted of possessing classified documents relating to security operations in Rakhine during a brutal military crackdown against the Rohingya that forced some 740,000 to flee over the border into Bangladesh.

Rights groups and legal experts say the case was riddled with irregularities.

A whistleblowing police officer testified during their trial that his superior had ordered his team to trap the reporters in a sting — testimony the judge chose to ignore.

Rights groups have urged Myanmar’s civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi to use her influence to secure a pardon for the pair, but she has so far refused to intervene.

“Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo did not commit any crime, nor was there any proof that they did,” Reuters Chief Counsel Gail Gove said in a statement following Tuesday’s ruling.

“Instead, they were victims of a police set-up to silence their truthful reporting. We will continue to do all we can to free them as soon as possible.”


Sudan Journalists Protest Over Jailed Editor

Pro-government Sudanese men remove anti-regime posters from a building in the capital Khartoum on March 26, 2019. Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir has cut the maximum jail term for violating the country’s state of emergency from 10 years to six months/ AFP


Dozens of Sudanese journalists Monday protested in downtown Khartoum demanding the release of a prominent editor detained for criticising a state of emergency imposed by President Omar al-Bashir, witnesses said.

Osman Mirghani, editor-in-chief of independent daily Al-Tayar, was taken away by security agents from his office on the night of February 22 after making televised comments on Bashir’s decision to impose emergency rule nationwide.

Bashir declared the state of emergency after an initial crackdown failed to quell widespread protests against his administration that erupted in December.

The journalists gathered in downtown Khartoum to express their solidarity with Mirghani and to fight for freedom of expression in the east African country.

“We are the voice of our own people and not of the regime,” they chanted and carried banners demanding Mirghani’s release, witnesses said, before dispersing.

The protest was organised by the Sudanese Journalists Network, a group belonging to the Sudanese Professionals Association (SPA) that is spearheading the protest campaign against Bashir’s iron-fisted rule.

Mirghani was arrested after an interview with Sky News Arabia in which he said Bashir’s measures would “spark a new wave” of protests and send a message that the public “can exert more pressure to achieve its goal of removing this regime”.

The US-educated engineer turned journalist has often been targeted by security agents, who have detained him several times, confiscated copies of his newspaper or barred its publication without giving any reason.

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Sudan’s powerful National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) regularly seizes entire print runs of newspapers over articles it deems inappropriate, especially those criticising the authorities or government policies.

Sudan is ranked 174th out of 180 countries in media watchdog Reporters Without Borders 2018 World Press Freedom Index.

On Monday, scores of protesters also staged a demonstration in south Khartoum’s district of Jabra, where Bashir inaugurated a hospital hours earlier.

Men and women chanted anti-government slogans as they walked through the district, witnesses said.

Protests first erupted on December 19 in response to a government decision to triple the price of bread.

But they swiftly escalated into nationwide demonstrations against Bashir’s three-decade rule, with protesters calling on him to step down.

Protesters accuse his adminstration of mismanaging the country’s economy that has led to soaring food prices, shortage of fuel and foreign currency.

Bashir, 75, has remained defiant in the face of protests.

Journalists Campaign Against Electoral Violence In Adamawa

Journalists Campaign Against Violence In Adamawa


Members of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) in Adamawa State have held a rally ahead of the governorship and state house of assembly elections scheduled for Saturday.

The march which held on Thursday in Yola and tagged “Media Peace Day Campaign” was organised by the union and a group, Search for Common Ground.

The media practitioners called for the support of electorates, candidates, and security operatives to sustain peace during and after the polls.

They also urged political parties and candidates in the state to accept the results of the elections and seek justice but not violence in cases of contentions.

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Addressing reporters at the NUJ Secretariat in the state capital, the acting chairman of the union in Adamawa, Umar Dankano, said journalists jointly condemn proliferation of small arms, thuggery, hate speeches, and fake news.

He also appealed to winners in the elections to be magnanimous in victory and urged the losers to seek justice in court rather than cause violence.

The NUJ chairman also called on political actors in the state to continuously engage their followers in a bid to achieve a peaceful exercise.

Highpoints of the rally are captured in the pictures;

SERAP Sues FG, States Over Alleged Attacks On Journalists, Bloggers

SERAP Threatens To Sue UI, AAUA Over Increased Fees


The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has dragged the Federal and state governments to the ECOWAS Court of Justice in Abuja over alleged attacks on journalists and bloggers.

According to a statement issued on Sunday, the SERAP Deputy Director, Kolawole Oluwadare, said the group is suing the government for what it described as “the frequent and repressive application of the Cybercrime Act to harass, intimidate, arbitrarily arrest, detain, and unfairly prosecute anyone found publishing views or facts perceived to be critical of the government at the federal and state levels and government officials.”

In the suit number ECW/CCJ/APP/09/19 filed by its Solicitor Femi Falana last week at the ECOWAS Court, SERAP argued that: “The Federal Government and several state governments and their agents have trampled on the rights to freedom of expression and information of bloggers, journalists, activists, and social media users through the repressive use and implementation of the vaguely worded provisions of the Cybercrime Act.”

SERAP stressed that the idea of democracy is that the people are encouraged to express their criticisms of elected government officials, with the expectation that it will improve the process of government.

In cases of alleged defamation of government officials, the group believes sanctions should “not be so large as to exert a chilling effect on freedom of opinion, expression and media freedom; penal sanctions, in particular imprisonment, should never be applied”.

SERAP is, therefore, seeking the following reliefs:

1. A declaration that the actions of the defendants and its agents and several states of Nigeria in arbitrarily enforcing the provisions of the Cybercrime (Prohibition, Prevention, etc) Act 2015 particularly its section 24 to harass, intimidate, arrest, detain, prosecute and imprison journalists, bloggers, and social media users, violate the rights to freedom of expression, information, opinion and privacy and media freedom, guaranteed under Articles 6,8,9 and 24 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights; Articles 7,9,17 and 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights to which Nigeria is a state party

2. A declaration that the provisions of the Cybercrime (Prohibition Prevention, etc) Act 2015 are entirely inconsistent and incompatible with international human rights standards and infringe on the rights to the freedom of expression, information and opinion guaranteed under the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights

3. A declaration that the continuing use and application by the Defendant and its agents and several states in Nigeria of the Cybercrime is illegal and unlawful, as it amounts to breaches of obligations to respect, protect, promote and fulfil the rights to freedom of expression and information and media freedom

4. An order directing the defendant to immediately repeal and/or amend the Cybercrime (Prohibition, Prevention, etc) Act 2015 in line with Nigerian obligations under international human rights law

5. An order directing the defendant and/or its agents and several states of Nigeria to provide effective remedies and reparation, including adequate compensation, restitution, satisfaction or guarantees of non-repetition that the Honourable Court may deem fit to grant to human rights defenders, activists bloggers, journalists and other online and off-line media practitioners that have been harassed, intimidated, unlawfully arrested, detained, and unfairly prosecuted by the Defendant.

A date is yet to be fixed for the hearing of the suit.

Turkish Court Upholds Convictions Of Opposition Journalists

Alleged Bribery: Witness Testifies As Rickey Tarfa’s Trial Continues
File photo


A Turkish appeals court Tuesday upheld jail sentences against opposition journalists in a long-running case targeting the Cumhuriyet newspaper — one of the few remaining dailies critical of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Last year 14 former Cumhuriyet staff, including journalists and executives, were given multiple sentences for “aiding and abetting terror groups without being a member” but they remained free pending trial.

An appeals court in Istanbul said it unanimously approved the sentences.

Cumhuriyet reported that six former staff, including cartoonist Musa Kart, would have to go back to prison because their appeals had exhausted.

Veteran journalist Kadri Gursel and lawyer Bulent Utku would remain free given time they have already served in jail, the daily said.

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But the remaining journalists who were given sentences of more than five years, including investigative reporter Ahmet Sik who is now an MP with the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party, will have to apply to the Supreme Court of Appeals, Cumhuriyet reported.

This is also the case for the former boss of the paper Akin Atalay and former editor-in-chief Murat Sabuncu.

The controversial Cumhuriyet case sparked global outrage over the state of press freedom in Turkey.

Unlike many Turkish newspapers — Cumhuriyet, the country’s oldest daily founded in 1924 — is not owned by a business tycoon but by an independent foundation.

 ‘Prison calling’

Andrew Gardner, Amnesty International’s Turkey strategy and research manager, slammed the “biased” ruling.

“Today’s ruling to send the former Cumhuriyet staff back to prison exposes yet again the way in which politically motivated trials and unsound court decisions are simply rubber-stamped by an equally biased appeals process,” he said in a statement.

“By using the courts to increase their stranglehold on the media, the authorities have once again displayed the ugly side of Turkey’s broken judicial system,” he said.

According to the International Press Institute, 155 journalists and media executives are in prison in Turkey, making it the country with the highest number of imprisoned journalists in the world.

Kart, who was awarded last year a top prize by the Swiss organisation Cartooning for Peace, wrote on Twitter: “Yes, prison is calling me again. Take care of yourself.”

Sik reacted with a quote attributed to French philosopher Voltaire: “We have only two days to live; it is not worth our while to spend them in cringing to contemptible rascals.”

After the convictions last year, Cumhuriyet was shaken by the resignation of several journalists in protest at management changes.

The daily has often had troubles with government authorities, with its former editor-in-chief, Can Dundar fleeing to Germany after being convicted in 2016 over an article alleging that Turkey had supplied weapons to Islamist groups in Syria.


Spain Demands ‘Immediate’ Release Of Journalists Held In Venezuela


Madrid on Thursday demanded the immediate release of journalists working for the Spanish news agency EFE who were arrested in Venezuela as part of a crackdown by Caracas on foreign media.

The Spanish government “strongly condemns” the detention in Caracas of four members of a team from Spanish news agency EFE by Venezuela’s state intelligence agency Sebin, the foreign ministry said in a statement.

“The government demands that the competent authorities release them immediately. The government again asks the Venezuelan authorities to respect the rule of law, human rights and fundamental freedoms, of which freedom of the press is a central element,” it added.

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The three EFE journalists — a Spanish reporter, a Colombian videographer and a Colombian photographer — were arrested along with their Venezuelan driver on Wednesday, according to the Spanish news agency.

Two French journalists from the TV channel TMC were detained on Tuesday as they filmed the presidential palace in Caracas and have not been heard from since, according to Venezuela’s main journalists’ union, the SNTP.

Two Chilean journalists who were also arrested on Tuesday near the presidential palace were kicked out of Venezuela on Wednesday, the union added.

The arrests come shortly after Venezuela’s opposition, which is challenging President Nicolas Maduro’s legitimacy as the country’s leader, appealed for fresh street protests to demand a transition government and new elections.

“They can not prevent the world from knowing what is happening in Venezuela,” opposition leader Juan Guaido, who declared himself interim president last week, wrote on Twitter.


Five Foreign Journalists Arrested In Venezuela

COMBO) This combination of pictures created on January 25, 2019 shows Venezuela’s National Assembly head Juan Guaido (L) speaking to opposition supporters at the Central University of Caracas (UCV) in Caracas, on January 21, 2019 and Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro offering a press conference in Caracas, on January 25, 2019. Venezuela’s opposition leader and self-proclaimed “acting president” Juan Guaido stepped up his campaign to oust President Nicolas


Venezuelan authorities have detained five foreign journalists covering the standoff with opposition forces seeking the ouster of President Nicolas Maduro.

Two others, from Chile, were deported as the crisis spilled over to hit journalists covering the oil-rich but economically crippled nation’s latest taste of crisis.

Two of the detained are from France, two from Colombia and one from Spain.

The latter three worked for the Spanish national news agency Efe and had all come from Colombia to cover the growing turmoil.

Their detention was reported by the Efe bureau chief in Venezuela, Nelida Fernandez.

Two French journalists working for a TV program called Quotidien were detained Tuesday while filming outside the presidential palace, diplomatic sources said. A local producer working with them was also detained.

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Two Chilean TV journalists were detained Tuesday night near the presidential palace and held for 14 hours before being expelled from the country, Chilean Foreign Minister Roberto Ampuero said.

The reason stated for their arrest was that they had been working in a “security zone,” he said.

“This is what dictatorships do. Stomp on freedom of the press,” the minister wrote on Twitter.

In recent years, several foreign journalists have been detained or kicked out of the country on grounds that they did not have press passes.

Without mentioning the latest arrests, Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza said Wednesday that foreign reporters have entered the country without work permits.

Venezuela’s political crisis intensified this month as national assembly speaker Juan Guaido declared himself interim president.

Protests against the Maduro government have left around 40 dead and 850 have been arrested since they started on January 21, according to UN figures.


Myanmar Reuters Journalists Lose Appeal Against 7-Year Sentence

Myanmar journalist Wa Lone (C) is escorted by police after being sentenced by a court to jail in Yangon on September 3, 2018. Ye Aung THU / AFP


A Myanmar judge dismissed an appeal Friday by two Reuters journalists jailed for seven years while investigating atrocities committed against the Rohingya, dashing slim hopes that the pair could be freed early.

Reporters Wa Lone, 32, and Kyaw Soe Oo, 28, were arrested in Yangon in December 2017 and later jailed for violating the state secrets act, a charge Reuters said was trumped up to muzzle their reporting.

Prosecutors say the two had classified information regarding security operations in Rakhine state, from where hundreds of thousands of Rohingya Muslims fled during an army-led crackdown the United Nations has dubbed “ethnic cleansing”.

Aung Naing, a judge at the Yangon Regional High Court, said Friday the original verdict was “not wrong according to the law” and was a “reasonable decision”.

“The court decides to dismiss the appeal,” he said.

Lawyers can now appeal to the Supreme Court in Myanmar, a process that could take an estimated six months.

The reporters’ wives cried after the decision which condemns the pair to continue their stay at Yangon’s notorious Insein prison, where they have been held for the last 13 months.

The two men — who were not present for the decision — have insisted they were victims of a police set-up, pointing to testimony from a serving officer who said superior ordered other to entrap them.

At the time of the arrest, they were probing a massacre of 10 Rohingya.

The original trial was widely regarded as a sham and seen as punishment for their investigation, sparking outrage around the world including from US Vice President Mike Pence.

Outside the country, the two men have been hailed as media freedom heroes and jointly named Time Magazine’s Person of the Year 2018, alongside other persecuted and slain journalists.

But they have gained little sympathy within Myanmar.

The violent military campaign in 2017 forced more than 720,000 Rohingya across the border to Bangladesh, with refugees bringing accounts of murder, rape and arson.

UN investigators have called for top generals to be investigated for a genocide and singled out civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi for criticism for failing to stop the crackdown.

The image of the formerly renowned champion of human rights has been further damaged by the Reuters trial, and she has yet to speak up in their defence.

Reacting to the verdict outside the court the European Union ambassador to Myanmar Kristian Schmidt said he looked to the president of Myanmar to “correct” the injustice with a possible pardon.