Myanmar government sues media outlet over army reporting

Development Media Group’s chief editor is being sued by the Myanmar Home Affairs Ministry under the Unlawful Association Act. The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) strongly criticizes the charges bought by the authorities, and calls on the authorities of Myanmar to stop various attempts to intimidate the media.

According to the Irrawaddy, U Aung Min Oo, the DMG chief editor has been served with charges under Article 17(2) of the Unlawful Association Act. The charges have been filed by the Home Affairs Ministry’s Special Branch. According to the report, DMG which is based in Rakhine State had published a series of reports following the conflict between the Arakan Army and the Myanmar military. The outlet had also reported on human rights abuses in the northern part of the state.

DWG reporters Ko Nay Win San and Ko Thet Naing were summoned by local police on May 5 and 6 as U Aung Min Oo is currently not in the state. The police questioned the reporters, asking about the role of the chief editor, details of the publisher and internal structures.

This is the third lawsuit filed against a media outlet in Myanmar for reporting on the conflict in Rahkine state. Previously, the Irrawaddy Online publication and Radio Free Asia were being sued for defamation on the articles they published about the conflict.

The IFJ said: “We strongly criticise the use of out-dated Unlawful Association Act to clamp down on the media. The media should not be harassed and intimidated for simply doing their jobs, and the fact that DMG is now the third outlet targeted for reporting on this story, raises serious concerns about press freedom in Myanmar. We call on the Myanmar authorities to drop all the charges against the Development Media Group.”

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