Netizen Sued After Criticizing Mon State Chief Minister on Facebook

By Nyan Soe Win 8 January 2018

THATON, Mon State — A netizen was sued by a member of the Mon State ethnic affairs committee on Saturday after posting several posts critical of the Mon State chief minister.

U Aung Ko Ko Lwin, a Thaton local who uses the Facebook account Aung Ko Ko Lwin, posted a video clip of Mon State Chief Minister Dr. Aye Zaw’s controversial remark last week urging the residents of Thaton Township to “eat only a dish of curry” at mealtime in order to bring down food prices.

“I don’t know exactly what I was sued for, the video or other posts,” U Aung Ko Ko Lwin told The Irrawaddy.

His other posts claimed that the chief minister turned a deaf ear to his demands during the Mon State authorities’ meeting with Thaton residents last week as he asked the chief minister to install a transformer for the town’s central market and LED signals at a railway crossing on the Yangon-Mawlamyine motor road where traffic accidents frequently occur.

“He didn’t bother to reply. He was not dutiful,” U Aung Ko Ko Lwin wrote.

He was sued by U Saw Kyaw Moe under Article 8(f) of a law protecting the privacy and personal security of citizens, new legislation that was enacted late last year.

No one shall unlawfully interfere with a citizen’s personal or family matters or act in any way to slander or harm their reputation, states Article 8(f).

Violation of the law is punishable by up to three year’s imprisonment plus a maximum fine of 1,500,000 kyats (US$1,100).

U Saw Kyaw Moe said he filed the complaint as a community elder of the town but not on behalf of the state government.

“They can talk freely on Facebook. We have always engaged in democratic causes. But his post is the negative use of freedom of expression. And other youths from our town have followed his footsteps and written similar posts,” said U Saw Kyaw Moe.

“His negative criticism spoils the image of the town,” he added.

In another post, U Aung Ko Ko Lwin complained about the irregular electricity supply to Thaton Market along with a photo of the Mon State chief minister and lawmakers having meals at a donation ceremony.

“You may be able to walk with your head held high during this term in Thaton, but if you go against the wishes of people, how can you greet them after this term expires?” he wrote.

Translated from Burmese by Thet Ko Ko.