Myanmar's Ruling Party Sues Facebook Users for Chief Minister Memes
By Zarni Mann 18 September 2019
Mandalay – An information officer at the National League for Democracy’s Mandalay Region office has filed a complaint over a Facebook page under the notorious Telecommunication Law’s Article 66(d) for defaming the regional chief minister with memes.
The information officer said two Facebook users had posted pictures of Chief Minister U Zaw Myint Maung to defame him.
“At the instruction of the party, I filed a complaint on behalf of the chief minister, asking the police to take legal action against ridiculous captions on the chief minister’s pictures to defame him, creating misunderstanding among the people,” said Ko Ponya Swe of the NLD’s regional office.
The police refused to provide details of the two men, saying the case was under investigation. Officers would decide whether to take the case to court, Mandalay’s Police Station No. 11 said.
The two Facebook users run the “We Love Dauk Zaw” page, which uses pictures of U Zaw Myint Maung for satirical purposes, according to the police. Dauk means “doctor”.
The group was created on Sept. 12 and already has more than 1,000 members.
The plaintiff showed pictures of the chief minister raising a hand, probably greeting supporters. But the caption says: “I will slap your face!”
The other posts include captions like, “I’m a loving person and I know myself best”, “Baby, you are always in my dreams” and “Hey, my girlfriend is better than yours.”
The chief minister refused to comment.
“I didn’t see any of that. But I deserve privacy. This is a private matter. I will only talk about politics,” said the chief minister, after the regional parliamentary session.
He has been praised for backing development in the region, including an initiative giving full authority to the mayor’s office to create a smart city. Pictures of U Zaw Myint Maung have often circulated by supporters seeking to demonstrate public affection for him.
Many of the pictures have been compiled on the “We love Dauk Zaw” page.
Yangon Region Chief Minister U Phyo Min Thein also has a page, “We Love Kwee Phyo”, with “kwee” meaning “big brother”. The group has over 2 million members with hundreds of humorous pictures, memes and illustrations of U Phyo Min Thein.