Jailed Reuters reporters, U.S. border photographers win Pulitzer Prizes
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Reuters won two Pulitzer Prizes on Monday, one for an investigative report that revealed the massacre of 10 Muslim Rohingya men by Buddhist villagers and Myanmar security forces, and one for photographs of migrants on the U.S. border, the Pulitzer administrator announced.
The Pulitzers are the most prestigious prizes in American journalism, awarded since 1917 after being established in the will of newspaper publisher Joseph Pulitzer. The 18-member Pulitzer board is made up of past winners and other distinguished journalists and academics.
"While it's gratifying to be recognized for the work, public attention should be focused more on the people about whom we report than on us: in this case, the Rohingya and the Central American migrants," said Reuters Editor-in-Chief Stephen J. Adler.
Reuters and the Associated Press were both awarded prizes for international reporting.
The Reuters entry featured an investigative report that revealed the massacre of 10 Muslim Rohingya men by Buddhist villagers and Myanmar security forces at the village of Inn Din, in the heart of the conflict zone of Rakhine State. The story can be read here: https://www.reuters.com/investigates/special-report/myanmar-rakhine-events/
Two young Reuters reporters, Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo, both Myanmar citizens, found a mass grave filled with bones sticking out of the ground. They went on to gather testimony from perpetrators, witnesses and families of victims.
They obtained three devastating photographs from villagers: two showed the 10 Rohingya men bound and kneeling; the third showed the mutilated and bullet-ridden bodies of the same 10 men in the same shallow grave.
Before Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo could complete their story, they were arrested in December 2017 in what international observers have criticized as an effort by authorities to block the report. The article, "Massacre in Myanmar," was completed by colleagues Simon Lewis and Antoni Slodkowski and published in February of last year.
In September, they were sentenced to seven years behind bars for violating the country's Official Secrets Act. As of Monday, they have been in jail for 490 days.
"I'm thrilled that Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo and their colleagues have been recognized for their extraordinary, courageous coverage," said Adler. "I remain deeply distressed, however, that these two brave reporters are still behind bars."
In the breaking news photography category, 11 Reuters photographers contributed pictures to "On the Migrant Trail to America," a package of images of asylum seekers and others from Central America to the U.S. border.
One photo by Kim Kyung-Hoon showed migrants fleeing tear gas launched by U.S. authorities into Mexico at the San Diego-Tijuana border. In the image a mother grabs her twin daughters by the arm, one in diapers and wearing rubber sandals, the other barefoot, as a teargas cannister emits its fumes.
In another image, an aerial photo, Mike Blake was the first to photograph the detention facility in Tornillo, Texas, where children walked in single file, like prisoners.
Goran Tomasevic captured an image in San Pedro Sula, Honduras, a city with one of the highest murder rates in the world, of a rooster scratching in the dirt next to the slain body of a Barrio 18 gang member. Tomasevic was a previous finalist for his pictures of the war in Syria.
(Reporting by Daniel Trotta; Editing by Bill Rigby)
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