Myanmar military should drop criminal defamation complaint against editor –  CPJ

18 March 2020
Myanmar military should drop criminal defamation complaint against editor –  CPJ
Ye Ni, of The Irrawaddy, is facing charges under Myanmar's Telecommunication Law Section 66(d) over the outlet's reporting on conflict in Rakhine State. Photo: Ye Ni/Facebook

The Myanmar military should immediately drop its criminal defamation complaint against editor Ye Ni and stop using legal threats to stifle reporting, the Committee to Protect Journalists has said.

A Yangon court agreed to hear a complaint filed by Lieutenant Colonel Zaw Min Tun of the Yangon Region Command against Ye Ni, Burmese-language editor of the news website The Irrawaddy, over the outlet’s coverage of armed clashes between state forces and the Arakan Army in Rakhine state’s Mrauk-U town, according to a report in The Irrawaddy and Ye Ni, who communicated with CPJ via email.

Zaw Min Tun filed the complaint in April 2019 at Kyauktada Police Station on behalf of Yangon military commander Major General Thet Pone, according to reports.

If convicted under Article 66(d) of Myanmar’s Telecommunications Law, Ye Ni faces up to two years in prison, those reports said. Ye Ni told CPJ that he paid a 10 million kyat ($7,000) bail yesterday and that the next hearing in the case is scheduled for March 30.

CPJ emailed Brigadier General Zaw Min Tun, a military spokesperson, for comment, but did not immediately receive a reply, the CPJ said in a statement.