Eleven Media Group/ANN
Myanmar Press Council (MPC) officially told Yangon Region Government to withdraw the lawsuit against three journalists from the Weekly Eleven Journal in order for them to be a mediator in media affairs as prescribed under Section 22 of the Media Law, according to the directive of the President.
On the morning of October 19, the MPC met with the director of the Yangon Region Government who lodged a complaint to the MPC under the directive of the President and officials of Eleven Media Group at the MPC’s office in Yangon separately.
At a separate talk with the team led by Managing Director Dr. Thein Myint of Eleven Media Group, the MPC discussed the matter relating to putting additional facts into the letter about the charge against three journalists including chief editor Ko Kyaw Zaw Lin according to the procedures of the Myanmar Press Council.
The MPC officially told Director Aung Kyaw Khaing of the Yangon Region Government to withdraw the charge in order that the MPC can deal with the complaint in accordance with the law.
Hanthawaddy U Ohn Kyaing, President of Myanmar Press Council said: “According to the Media Law, the MPC has no authority to mediate in the case that has been filed at the court. The MPC even has no mandate to deal with the case filed at the police station. Yangon region government needs to withdraw the charge against the Eleven Media. I would like to urge the region government to withdraw the case today or Monday if possible. I told the official to deal with it only after the withdrawal of the charge. According to the directive of the region government, Director U Aung Kyaw Khaing filed the case against the journalists at the court. He said he will make a reply to the MPC only after reporting it to the region government.”
Myint Kyaw of the MPC said: “According to the bylaws of the Media Law, the council can mediate in the case only after the charge has been withdrawn. The charge must be withdrawn. The MPC has difficulties in mediating in the case without withdrawal.”
Managing Director Dr. Thein Myint said: “The MPC told us about the complaint filed by the region government. We (Eleven Media Group) have sent a letter to the MPC to mediate in the case. The MPC said it will mediate in the case only after the withdrawal of charge. Journalists from the EMG will be free after the region government withdraws the charge. We can continue doing other things after the release of journalists. We are management members. Only reporters know the news coverage and have the facts and information. I have nothing. It will be natural only when they (themselves) solve the problem. We have told the MPC that we will solve the case only after the release of journalists.”
Director U Aung Kyaw Khaing told the media: “We still submit the complaint. I have to do it on behalf of the region government.”
On October 17, a letter, issued by the Union government about the directive of the President for the case filed by the director of the region government, against Chief Editor U Kyaw Zaw Lin, Editor-in-Charge U Na Yi Min and Chief Reporter Ko Phyo Wai Win, under Section 505 (b) of the Penal Code, went viral on the social media.
Zaw Htay, Director-General of the State Counsellor’s Office said: “The region government reported it to the Union government. The Union government sought the directive from the President. Then, the Union government sent the President’s guidance to the region government. You are urged to ask the region government to know more details about it. The main point is the President gave guidance to the region government about how to file the case.”
According to the President’s guidance, the region government first lodges a complaint to the MPC. The MPC mediates in the case. The complaint files a case against them at the respective court in accordance with the law if both sides cannot reach agreement.
The director of the region government filed a case against three journalists from the EMG including the Chief Editor, under Section 505 (b) of the Penal Code. On October 18, the region government lodged a complaint to the MPC under Section 21 of the Media Law described in the President’s guidance.
Plaintiff U Aung Kyaw Khaing, director of the region government was interrogated at the first court hearing on October 17.
Myanmar Press Council (MPC) issued a statement on October 11, saying it strongly denounced Yangon regional government charge against three senior journalists of the Weekly Eleven News Journal without undergoing through procedure in accord with the law that says the press council must be the first to receive the complaint.
Section 21 says if any of responsibilities or ethics required in Article 9 is considered to be breached by a News Media worker, the aggrieved department, organization or individual shall have the right to complain to the council first.
The Section 12 states the council is the only organization which can perform its tasks independently regarding people from mass media in keeping with regulations stated in this law. For that reason, the MPC strongly denounced charges against media professionals in use of other laws instead of using the media law. The MPC strongly denounced the charge against the senior journalists of Weekly Eleven News Journal, the statement said.