"The main reason I am resigning is that this advisory board is a whitewash," Richardson told Reuters. He refused to be part of "a cheerleading squad for the government."
Richardson was clearly stunned by Suu Kyi's hostility. His appeal for the two imprisoned journalists had already been telegraphed in the regional press. "She blames all the problems that Myanmar is having on the international media, on the U.N., on human rights groups, on other governments, and I think this is caused by the bubble that is around her, by individuals that are not giving her frank advice," the former New Mexico governor and U.S. ambassador to the U.N. told The Associated Press.
His old boss, former President Bill Clinton, is among those who have appealed for the release of the reporters.
Significantly, former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, heading an earlier commission set up on Suu Kyi's initiative, called in August for proper media access to Rakhine State -- something the government continues to refuse.
The two journalists, Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo, were arrested outside a Yangon restaurant on Dec. 12 with classified documents given to them by police relating to the brutal crackdown by security forces in Rakhine. The violence included the murders of eight men -- shopkeepers, fishermen and an Islamic teacher -- and two teenage students on Sept. 2 during operations to flush Rohingyas out of Inn Din, a coastal village.
Although the reporters had no opportunity to disseminate any secret information, bail has been denied. The speed of the arrests and contradictory police statements have raised suspicions that the two reporters were entrapped.
"The Reuters investigation of the Inn Din massacre was what prompted Myanmar police authorities to arrest two of the news agency's reporters," Reuters said in a detailed investigative report published on Feb. 8. "Then, on Jan. 10, the military issued a statement that confirmed portions of what Wa Lone, Kyaw Soe Oo and their colleagues were preparing to report, acknowledging that 10 Rohingya men were massacred in the village." Members of the security forces are now facing rare disciplinary action over the slayings.
Source: Nikkei Asian Review