The Straits Times
Published on Sep 20, 2012

Myanmar newspaper pair to face defamation charge


YANGON (AFP) - The chief editor and publisher of a Myanmar newspaper were charged with defamation on Thursday for reporting a graft probe into a government ministry, in a move likely to raise fears over media reforms.

The Voice Weekly was taken to court for defamation by the mining ministry over an article stating that the auditor-general's office had discovered misappropriation of funds and fraud inside the government division.

"The court has accepted the charge," said chief editor of The Voice, Kyaw Min Swe, urging protection for journalists "writing in the interest of the people".

Under the country's Printing Act 1962, both individuals and organisations can sue publications for defamation, in a country where for decades the judiciary acted as a tool of the junta and are still perceived as lacking independence.