The Myanmar authorities must immediately release two journalists from the Reuters news agency who have been arbitrarily detained for investigating military abuses in Myanmar's Rakhine State, Amnesty International said. The act makes it illegal to enter prohibited places, take images or handle secret official documents that "might be or is meant to be, directly or indirectly, useful to an enemy".
"The charges filed against Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo represent a giant step backward for press freedom in Myanmar", said Shawn Crispin, CPJ's senior Southeast Asia representative.
The two appeared in court for the first time on December 27, when they were remanded for another two weeks.
Both men face up to 14 years in prison if convicted under the Official Secrets Act, which dates back almost a century ago, when Myanmar was under British colonial rule.
The Official Secrets Act dates back to 1923, when Myanmar, then known as Burma, was a province of British India.
Surakiart Sathirathai, a former Thai foreign minister and the head of a new worldwide advisory panel on the Rohingya crisis, also expressed concern at the arrest of the reporters and said he hoped the case did not lead to broader restrictions on the global media.
Police said they were arrested for possessing "important and secret" documents related to the situation in the country's western Rakhine state, according to reports.
A man reads a newspaper with the news about the arrest of Reuters Myanmar-based journalists Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo, in Yangon, Myanmar December 14, 2017. The reporters had been working on stories about a military crackdown on the Rohingya Muslim minority in Rahkine State that has caused nearly 650,000 people to flee to neighboring Bangladesh.
A government spokesman was not available for comment on Clinton's Twitter post.
Observers from the United Nations and several embassies, including those of the Netherlands, Australia and Britain, were also present at the court as police cordoned off the area.
Outside the courtroom, dozens of journalists dressed in black rallied in support of Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo, some carrying signs proclaiming "Journalism is not a crime".
Kristian Schmidt, representative of the European Union in Yangon, sent a letter to Myanmar's de facto leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, urging the government to release the two journalists.
Suu Kyi won a 2015 election and formed Myanmar's first civilian government in more than half a century in early 2016, although she is barred by the constitution from becoming president.
The media and NGOs have been barred from entering northern Rakhine where the Myanmar military stands accused of committing atrocities against the Rohingya during the crackdown which the United Nations and USA say amounts to ethnic cleansing.
"All 12 of the outpatient therapeutic treatment centers run by our partners are closed because they were either looted, destroyed or staff can't access them", she said.
"We therefore call on your government to provide the necessary legal protection for these two journalists, to ensure the full respect of their fundamental rights and to release them immediately".