Myanmar frees two imprisoned Reuters reporters

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Two journalists from Reuters - who had been detained in Myanmar after reporting about the killing of Muslim men in western Rakhine State - were released from prison on Tuesday local time.

"Young men who have now proven themselves as world-renowned journalists, they have long and important careers ahead of them carrying out the essential work of holding Myanmar's fledgling new government accountable and keeping their country's deserving public informed", Nossel said.

Meanwhile, the presidential amnesty has brought the total prisoners released since Myanmar's traditional New Year last month to 23,019.

Reporting on the Rohingya is sensitive in Myanmar, where numerous country's majority ethnic Burmans agree with the official government of denying the group citizenship and labeling them as illegal migrants from Bangladesh. "I can't wait to go to my newsroom", he told Reuters.

"While we celebrate the release of Reuters colleagues, Al Jazeera appeals to media institutions and other worldwide rights organisations to continue the campaign for the release of every journalist unjustly imprisoned or arbitrarily detained in violation of their rights to freedom of speech", Souag added.

The two reporters, Wa Lone, 33, and Kyaw Soe Oo, 29, had been convicted in September and sentenced to seven years in jail, in a case that raised questions about Myanmar's progress toward democracy and sparked an outcry from diplomats and human rights advocates.

A spokesman for the Myanmar government could not immediately be reached for comment.

After that final defeat, the journalists' lawyer said they had to hope for a presidential pardon, which they finally received this week after years of worldwide pressure.

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"The UN in Myanmar considers the release of Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo a step toward improving the freedom of the press and a sign of Government's commitment to Myanmar's transition to democracy", it said.

Two Reuters journalists jailed for investigating atrocities committed against Rohingya Muslims have been freed after almost two years in a Burmese prison.

The two were then driven away by Reuters colleagues and reunited with their wives and children.

Their jailing drew condemnation as an assault on freedom of the press.

Swamped by media and well-wishers as they walked through the gates of Insein Prison, on the outskirts of Yangon, a grinning Wa Lone gave a thumbs up and said he was grateful for the global efforts to secure their freedom. "We welcome their return", Stephen J. Adler, Reuter's Editor-in-Chief said in a statement.

Their imprisonment was widely condemned and called "damaging" to freedom of the press in the country.

"A presidential pardon is the best hope for the release of the two journalists".

Last month, Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo won the prestigious Pulitzer prize. "This is unacceptable as they only did their job as journalists".