On 18 February 2019, a district court from Dawei Township, Tanintharyi division announced its verdict on Thanitharyi Journal. The court decision states that the local paper has violated Article 25 (b) of the 2014 Media Law by publishing a satirical story, therefore, was sentenced to six-month imprisonment or fined 500,000 kyats (about USD 450). We, the media community in Myanmar, condemn this verdict as it restricts media freedom and the rights of media outlets.
Article 4 (a), chapter three of the 2014 Media Law safeguards the independence and impartiality role of the press when covering judicial, legislative, and executive branches of the government.
The media and press are the fourth pillar of the state taking a position of check and balance on the judicial, legislative, and executive branches of the government and this role is respected and approved by the leader of the country including the president.
The media have informed the public of that recent State Counsellor trip to the Tanintharyi division where the public complained of the governance of the region and the conduct of public officials.
It is the role and responsibility of the media to shed light on the irregular conduct and corruption of public institutions.
Therefore, we condemn this verdict as it interferes on the role of the media in Tanintharyi division, further, it restricts the Myanmar press and media freedom in general.
Myanmar Women Journalists Society
Southern Myanmar Journalist Network
Myanmar Journalist Network (Irrawaddy Division)
Mya Lat Journalist Network
Lashio Journalist Network
Taungyi Journalist Network
Monyay Journalist Network
Myanmar Journalist Network