Ma Ba Tha ask for legal action against journalist Ko Swe Win  
Occurred in Mandalay, Mandalay Region, Myanmar on April 4, 2017, at 1:00 PM
Reported by naymg via Internet on April 5, 2017, at 11:00 AM in Mandalay, Mandalay Region, Myanmar

This rumour is confirmed true and is of medium priority – here's why:
A petition signed by 8000 people to take legal action against a journalist Ko Swe Win was sent to the Ministry of Religious Affairs and Culture. They accused that a Facebook post by the Chief Editor the Myanmar Now newspaper has caused disrespect to Buddhist religion.
The petition was organised by a pro-Buddhist group the Association for Protection of Race and Religion, more popularly known with its Myanmar acronym Ma Ba Tha. It said the post criticising a senior monk of Ma Ba Tha, U Wirathu also caused defame to the Buddhist religion. The petition was sent to Mandalay Region Religious Affairs Department on 4 April.
A senior Manadalay-based monk Badanta Kuthala said Ko Swe Win used the words, which are offensive not only to the monk but also to the religion as a whole. He said more than 40 000 people have signed the petition since March 26.
In a similar case, Ma Ba Tha called for charges against a writer Htin Linn Oo, with an accusation that his speech at a literacy event in Sagaing Region has caused defame to the religion. The writer was put on trial and later jailed. Ma Ba Tha is using similar method against Ko Swe Win as well.
Ko Swe Win has asked opinion from the Ministry of Culture and Religious Affairs, if the words he used in the post could cause defame to the religion and the ministry has responded back to him on 5 April. The letter from the ministry said as a journalist Ko Swe Win has a duty to inform to the public on the speech ban imposed on U Wirathu by the country’s highest monk body, the State Sangha Manayaka Committee.
It said Ko Swe Win words could cause defame to a person of high moral character not like U Wirathu who used words which are deem unfit even for an ordinary laymen let alone for a monk. The letter said that was the reason why U Wirathu is facing punitive action from the monk committee.
Legal experts said Ko Swe Win could not be charged under the section 66 D of the Telecommunication Law as it is only applicable to those who use the social media to intimidate, defame and use influence to harm a person’s image. Ko Swe Win post was based on fact that is why it does not cause defame to U Wirathu.
They said the criticism in the post were against U Wirathu as a person not to the Buddhist religion that’s why the journalist could not be charged under the section of 295 of penal code which is for causing defame to the religion.
Ko Swe Win is facing lawsuits filed by followers of U Wirathu for criticising against the monk.

Reference: 7 Day Daily, Number 1414, April 5/ Facebook page of Ba Kaung


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Location Reported by Via Date
Mandalay, Mandalay Region, Myanmar naymg Internet 5-Apr-2017 @ 11:00 AM

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