Former Lt-Gen to Sue Local Journal for Defamation

By Htet Naing Zaw 5 September 2016

NAYPYIDAW — Khin Zaw Oo, a former Lt-Gen in the Burma Army and current member of the new government’s peace commission, said he would sue the Myanmar Herald for defamation, after publishing a story that alleged he sought political gain by taking advantage of National League for Democracy (NLD) government officials.

The Myanmar Herald stated that Khin Zaw Oo’s personal intervention in the Union Peace Conference caused inconveniences to attendees. The conference, held from August 31 to September 3, was criticized for mismanagement—with the United Wa State Army (UWSA) delegates leaving the conference on the second day.

“I’m waiting for a response. I will consider forgiving [the Myanmar Herald] if they apologize. Otherwise, we will have to meet in court,” said Khin Zaw Oo, who was also a former adjutant general in the Burma Army.

Khin Zaw Oo denied allegations that he manipulated NLD officials for political gain.

“I am not a politician and don’t need to take advantage of government officials. I was assigned to chair the work committee and coordinate conference arrangements. I was not directly involved in the conference; my responsibility was just to coordinate requirements,” Khin Zaw Oo wrote on his Facebook page.

He added that he has a strong case against the weekly journal. The Myanmar Herald did not name its sources, instead only quoting “some conference organizers.”

“They might need to explain who those organizers are,” he said.

Hsan Win Tun, the chief editor of the Myanmar Herald, told The Irrawaddy that the journal had tried to interview Khin Zaw Oo to ensure balanced reporting before publishing the story, but the former Lt-Gen refused to respond and therefore the journal would not apologize to him.

“We asked, but he refused to answer. We gave him a chance, but he didn’t say anything. So, we won’t apologize,” he said.