Yangon regional govt sues three editorial leaders of Weekly Eleven Journal

YANGON (Eleven Media Group/ANN) - Yangon regional government sued chief editor Kyaw Zaw Lin, editor in-charge Na Yi Min and chief reporter Phyo Wai under Section 505 (b) on October 10.

The Weekly Eleven Journal issued on October 8 carried the article about “Closure of unprofitable filling stations, school buses with unknown borrower and public shares with individual names” written by Phyo Wai. 

The article stated “Myanmar has experienced such kind of problem where a company that was built up by spending the public funds and then the shares from that company were then turned into shares owned by individuals who later led to the property of the country belonging to those individuals. It should, in reality, be all of the 639,500 shares within the K 54 billion-worth Yangon Metropolitan Development Public Company under the title of "Yangon Region Minister for Planning and Finance". That would mean that no matter who is the individual that gets appointed as the Yangon Region Minister for Planning and Finance, the public funds should be kept safe under the official title. I would like to summarize this week's economic reviews by saying that a government with a term of 5 years should not keep the public funds under the name of "Yangon Region Minister for Planning and Finance" but keeping the public funds under the name of "Myint Thaung" is not the correct procedure.”

“Yangon regional government sued senior journalists of Weekly Eleven Journal not because public shares are kept under the name of ‘Myint Thaung’ but because such writing and expression cause panic among officials concerned of the public companies as to Myanma construction and development and share holders and mistrusts of companies and Yangon regional government by the people. These displeased situations can lead to criminal offense to the government by the people,” said the judge of Tamwe Township.

“Today, the senior journalists of Eleven are sued under Section 505 (b). We can’t submit the power of attorney. We can’t put up the bail for them yet. Just a case is submitted. We can’t do the photo copying yet. The next trial will be on October 17. On that day we will have to submit the power of attorney. We will continue handling the case,” said advocate Kyi Myint who is acting for the accused.
In connection with the incident, the police having a warrant came to the office of Eleven Media Group on the night of October 9, but they did not see the accused persons because it is not office hour. 
On October 10, the three accused under Section 505 (b) came to Tamwe Police Station for being questioned. They were held on remand. After seeking the remand, the accused persons were brought to Insein Prison. 
The journalists and the political activists pointed out that they objected to the arrest of the journalists under Section 505 (b) and such act of the government supporting democratic system is totally unacceptable.

“If Yangon regional government always thinks of suing a person or an organization for something, no one or no organization will dare not point out wrongdoings and mismanagement. If so, the government will return to dictatorship full of corruption. To overcome these unpleasant conditions, the press freedom of the journalists must be protected and enhanced. Imprisonment and charge against the journalists should not happen today,” said Hsaung Kha, the Press Freedom Voice.

“The facts mentioned in the article were not found being aimed at defaming the prestige of the government. The writings are referred to the discussions made at the parliament,” said Hlaing Thit Wai Zin (a) Thar Lon Zhaung Htet who founded the Modern News Agency.

“We ask the MPs about this situation. They said the article writing did not have any intention to defame the reputation of the government. In real, the government can’t tolerate any criticism spotlighted by the MPs at the parliament. When the journalists write about this situation, the government gives a trouble to the media. When I have a chat with MP Kyaw Zeyar, he mentions there are no mistakes in the whole article. It is according to the record of the parliament. Finally, he told me that he would act as a witness to the accused journalists. I wonder that the journalists are being intentionally targeted,” Thar Lon Zhaung Htet added.