Myanmar Now Journalist Suspects Authorities Involved in Lawsuit

By The Irrawaddy 9 March 2017

RANGOON—The journalist who has been sued by a follower of nationalist monk U Wirathu said he was suspicious of authorities’ involvement in filing the case against him.

Ko Swe Win, the chief correspondent of Myanmar Now news agency, had a case filed against him under Article 66(d) of Burma’s Telecommunications Law on Tuesday at a police station in Mandalay’s Maha Aungmyay Township, accusing the reporter of insulting U Wirathu.

During a press conference held by the journalist on Wednesday in Rangoon, he said he was doubtful that the plaintiff U Kyaw Myo Shwe who lives in Mandalay would have been able to include detailed personal information about him on the complaint form that he submitted to the police without assistance.

“He included my National Registration Card number. Plus, the address I have just recently moved into–even the floor number. Where did he get that?” Ko Swe Win asked.

“He may not have had access to the information without some help from the Ministry of Home Affairs,” he said.

Ko Swe Win suggested that U Kyaw Myo Shwe might have collaborated with the authorities in order to send him to prison.

He said that although it might be possible to find the details of his home address, it would be much harder to find his National Registration Card number.

Apart from the holder, the number is only available to the immigration department, the township and the quarter administration offices. They are under the control of the Ministry of Home Affairs.

“This act not only breaches our journalistic rights but also our citizens’ rights to freedom of expression,” he added.

Ko Swe Win and Myanmar Now have extensively covered the killing of National League for Democracy legal advisor U Ko Ni.

The government was forced to release the name of one of the suspects involved in the case after Ko Swe Win identified him in his investigation.