Eleven Media Issue Apology Over Chief Minister Article

By San Yamin Aung 27 December 2016

RANGOON — Eleven Media Group issued an official apology and a retraction of an editorial which accused the Rangoon chief minister U Phyo Min Thein of corruption.

The apology, printed in Tuesday’s issue, came while the group’s chief executive U Than Htut Aung and chief editor U Wai Phyo were denied bail for the second time last week while in court on charges under Article 66(d) of the Telecommunications Law.

U Phyo Min Thein sued Eleven Media after an editorial titled “A Year After the Nov. 8 Poll” written by U Than Htut Aung was published on Nov. 6. The two defendants are being held in Rangoon’s notorious Insein Prison.

The half-page apology stated that factual errors in the editorial resulted in the defamation of the minister.

“As Eleven Media Group CEO and responsible persons, we apologize to Rangoon Chief Minister, regional government and others who were affected by the editorial because of the incorrect report,” the apology read.

The original article was featured in the Nov. 6 issue of Eleven Media’s daily newspaper and Singapore-based The Straits Times newspaper and was reposted on U Than Htut Aung’s Facebook account.

It claimed that the chief minister—whose monthly salary is only around US$2,500—wore a luxury Patek Philippe watch worth an estimated US$100,000 and had claimed the watch was presented by a wealthy benefactor.

“If the report was wrong ethically or factually, they should apologize as soon as they know there are errors. Although, as a consequence, they would lose their readers’ trust,” said U Myint Kyaw, a Myanmar Press Council member, adding the government should settle the case after the apology.

It is unknown whether the chief minister will drop the charges.