Military, 7 Day Daily Settle Libel Case

By The Irrawaddy 28 June 2016

RANGOON — The Burma Army settled a libel lawsuit that it brought against local media outlet 7 Day Daily for publishing a story that it claimed could “destroy the unity of the military.”

The military filed the case against 7 Day Daily, a Burmese newspaper based in Rangoon, on Saturday for a news story published on April 24, which included former general Shwe Mann’s message to graduates of the Defense Services Academy urging them to work with the country’s newly-elected democratic government.

The case was filed under Section 131 of Burma’s colonial-era Penal Code which punishes anyone who “abets mutiny or attempts to seduce an officer from his allegiance or duty,” a crime which carries up to ten years in prison.

The 7 Day Daily newspaper printed notifications on Tuesday, saying they published the story with no intention of instigating disloyalty to the State or the military or encouraging soldiers not to perform their duties.

“We are very sorry that the story has caused misunderstanding which led to the current situation. We 7 Day Daily would like to inform the Tatmadaw [the Burma Army] and fellow citizens with respect that we had no intention of harming anyone in our publishing of the story and we just published it honestly,” the statement read.

Burma’s Press Council released a statement on Monday stating that it wanted the case to be settled through negotiations.

“The source is not a fake account. 7 Day reported what Shwe Mann said on his Facebook page and they also cited that,” Kyi Min from the Myanmar Press Council said. “That’s why we thought the case should be settled out of court.”