Law­suits im­peril new press free­dom

The Washington Times Daily - - World -

YAN­GON | The me­dia in Myan­mar have gained new free­doms but also face a new threat in the form of law­suits filed against them by the gov­ern­ment.

The state-run Kye­mon daily re­ported Wed­nes­day that the Min­istry of Mines plans le­gal ac­tion against a re­porter and the pub­lisher of the Voice, a pri­vate weekly, for a re­port al­leg­ing mis­ap­pro­pri­a­tion of funds.

The Mod­ern weekly jour­nal al­ready has been sued on defama­tion charges by an en­gi­neer from the Con­struc­tion Min­istry. He sued over a story al­leg­ing that truck driv­ers had bribed lo­cal engineers to al­low them to use a bridge even though their ve­hi­cles ex­ceeded its weight limit.

Jour­nal­ists were jailed, beaten and black­listed while Myan­mar was un­der decades of army rule, and the new elected but mil­i­tary-backed gov­ern­ment con­tin­ues to cen­sor re­port­ing about pol­i­tics and other sub­jects it deems sen­si­tive.

But since last year, when the na­tion’s long-en­trenched mil­i­tary junta

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