Jour­nal­ist con­victed of de­fam­ing min­ing gi­ant

The Myanmar Times - - Front Page - – Su Phyo Win

A colum­nist at a Tanintharyi weekly jour­nal has been given the choice be­tween pay­ing a fine or serv­ing time in re­la­tion to an op-ed penned from a fish’s per­spec­tive.

A JOUR­NAL­IST for a Tanintharyi pub­li­ca­tion has been found guilty of defama­tion and was sen­tenced to pay a K30,000 fine or serve a three-month sen­tence.

The colum­nist, U Aung Lwin, was sued by min­ing com­pany Delco over an ar­ti­cle he had writ­ten for the weekly.

The ar­ti­cle, pub­lished on May 11, evoca­tively de­scribed the feel­ings of a fish whose habi­tat has been poi­soned by in­dus­trial waste dumped. Delco was not men­tioned by name in the piece.

Af­ter four months and 12 hear­ings, Ye­phyu Town­ship Court ruled in the min­ing com­pany’s favour.

“I will just pay the fine and ap­peal at the dis­trict-level court,” U Aung Lwin said fol­low­ing the de­ci­sion.

Delco’s min­ing op­er­a­tions in the re­gion, which be­gan in 2008, have been dogged by com­plaints of dam­age caused to lo­cal wa­ter­ways. In the wake of the verdict, the Dawei Watch Foun­da­tion is­sued a press re­lease stat­ing that the court’s de­ci­sion was a threat to free­dom of the press and to jour­nal­ists who bring en­vi­ron­men­tal dam­age to the pub­lic’s at­ten­tion.

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