Press Council Urges Govt to Withdraw Lawsuit Against Journalists

By Zue Zue 19 October 2018

YANGON — The Myanmar Press Council on Friday urged the Yangon government to withdraw its lawsuit against three journalists in order to give the council a chance to mediate the dispute first.

It follows a directive from the President’s Office on Thursday telling the regional government to follow the Media Law, which says that the council should attempt to settle complaints against the press before they reach the courts.

The Yangon government filed a suit against two editors and a reporter with the Eleven Media Group earlier this month accusing them of incitement, under Article 5050 (b) of the Penal Code, for publishing false information. They were arrested on Oct. 10 and sent to Yangon’s Insein Prison.

Myanmar Press Council Second Vice Chairman U Myo Thant Tin told reporters the council met with the plaintiff, Yangon government director U Aung Kyaw Khine, on Friday morning and explained that the council’s complaint mechanism forbids it council from mediating or intervening in an active lawsuit in order to avoid contempt of court.

“So we asked that he drop the case as soon as possible. If it is withdrawn today, our mediation will start within hours,” he said.

According to the vice chairman, U Aung Kyaw Khine said he would report back to the regional government about the meeting.

Eleven Media Managing Director U Thein Myint said he wanted his staff released as soon as possible and welcomed the directive from the President’s Office.

The three journalists appeared at the Tamwe Township Court on Wednesday to ask for bail. The court said it would announce its decision on the request next week.