Thein Sein Repeals Repressive Law on Public Speeches

Burmese President Thein has repealed a draconian law that was used to stifle public speeches and sentence dissidents to lengthy spells in prison under the previous military regime, according to an announcement in a state-owned newspaper on Wednesday.

The Burmese-language version of The New Light of Myanmar carried an announcement signed by President Thein Sein, which stated he had revoked Law 5/96, or the Law Protecting the Peaceful and Systematic Transfer of State Responsibility and the Successful Performance of the Functions of the National Convention against Disturbances and Oppositions.

It provided for up to 20 years imprisonment for anyone who criticizes the government in speeches or written statements that “belittle the National Convention” and make people misunderstand its proceedings.

Enacted in 1996 by the military regime, the law was intended to silence critics of the government’s national convention and its preparations to draft a controversial Constitution, which was completed in 2008. It also intended to keep exile groups from working against the regime.

The harsh law is one of several laws that were used by the junta’s State Peace and Development Council in past decades to use the judiciary to crush dissent. Several similar laws still remain in effect.

5 Responses to Thein Sein Repeals Repressive Law on Public Speeches

  1. Such an effort is most welcome!

  2. How many of SLORC’s and SPDC’s laws are still in effect without revoked? Ne Win’s, Saw Maung’s and Than Shwe’s laws must be all revoked and replaced with new laws drafted by our true representatives, not military hlutdaw members and USDP members. They are not true members but appointed.

  3. Junta will keep using British colonial law, Ne Win’s law, Saw Maung’s law and Than Shwe’s law whenever they believe it benefits their own interest.

  4. It is clear that not in one thing alone, but in many ways equality and freedom of speech are a good thing.

  5. Thein Sein deserves the Nobel Peace Prize. He has done more to progress Burma towards democracy than any other Bama leader in history. His failure so far is not stopping the fighting in the Kachin and Shan States. He must stop the fighting to remain credible. I applaude him for keeping the Islamists out of Burma. The country has enough problems without having extremist Muslims getting a foot hold in the country like they have everywhere else on the planet and brought nothing but conflict with them. People rave about Suu Kyi and her efforts. I say what efforts????? Her silence on the ethnic conflict in Shan and Kachin States speaks volumes, she only talks when she see’s public opinion turning against her. She is a foreigner anyway and stayed out of the country when it was in turmoil. She should give her Nobel Peace Prize to Thein Sein (long live a good man).

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