Burma’s lower house to discuss amending electronics law

Burma’s lower house to discuss amending electronics law

Burma’s lower house of parliament has agreed to debate a proposal by MP Thein Nyunt to amend the controversial Electronic Transactions Law.

The current law dates from 2004 but critics claim it reflects Burma’s decades of military dictatorship and extreme censorship as it has been used in the past to silence critics of the government including activists and bloggers.

The Electronics Act currently allows for sentences of up to 15 years for “acts using electronic transactions technology” deemed “detrimental to the security of the state or prevalence of law and order or community peace and tranquility or national solidarity or national economy or national culture.”

Speaking to DVB after Wednesday’s parliamentary session in Burma’s remote capital, Naypyidaw, Thein Nyunt said punishments for violations of the law are too severe and are often politically motivated.

“The law is too wide, and as a result severe punishments are handed down to opposition politicians, student leaders, and many other victims,” he said.

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In January, New National Democracy Party MP Thein Nyunt proposed the abolition of the Electronic Transactions Law during the sixth session of parliament, but the motion was denied.

88 Generation Students leader Jimmy, who was originally sentenced to 60 years under the Electronics Act, said on Wednesday that the law must be abolished.

“Article 33(a) carries a maximum sentence of 15 years,” he said. “I was given 60 years simply for sending four emails while campaigning for democracy.”

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