Don’t put words in the president’s mouth, warns govt

Don’t put words in the president’s mouth, warns govt

The Burmese government on Thursday released a press statement accusing political party officials of putting words in President Thein Sein’s mouth and personally attacking others who have different opinions from themselves when referring to the proposed sexpartite dialogue.

“Expressing different opinions is to be welcomed in a democratic society,” an official announcement said in state media. “However, it has been discovered that some responsible persons from some political parties expressed their opinions by quoting the words that the president had not said as if they had been said by the president or used words that personally attacked other people who have different opinions from them.”

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Khin Maung Swe, chairman of the National Democratic Force, said: “Political party leaders and members, when speaking to the media, may voice their disappointment with the president and the government, and sometimes we get emotional expressing our opinion.

“I assume the [press statement] was meant as a polite reminder to reflect the situation.”

Thu Wei, leader of the Democratic Party-Myanmar, said, “Generally, not only political parties but every citizen should enjoy freedom of expression and the right to criticise. As the head of state, the president’s activities must be analysed and discussed, so there may be an extent of personal criticism directed at him. But deliberate personal attacks should be avoided.”

The government statement urged political parties to “confirm with news sources before expressing their opinions and to respect the rights and dignity of other people are organisations’ in parallel with the ongoing efforts for national reconciliation.

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