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The Democratic Voice of Burma’s reporter that was sued by Magwe Region’s Department of Education last month was granted bail after paying a MMK10 million (US$11,494) bond and will appear in court next week for a hearing.
DVB’s Zaw Pe, along with his friend Win Myint Hlaing, were sued by the Department of Education after allegedly disturbing a civil servant on duty and trespassing on government property on 24 August.
The reporter contends that he was trying to interview officials for a story he was working on concerning a scholarship programme set up by a Japanese foundation.
“Since we don’t have know much about the legal process, we requested to move the hearing to September 11. The two of us were granted bail [after paying] MMK10 million each and the hearing was changed,” said Zaw Pe.
“As a parent of a student, I was inquiring about the scholarship but I didn’t get an answer but instead got sued,” said Win Myint Hlaing who’s hearing was also rescheduled to 11 September.
The row comes after the Burmese government has gradually relaxed its draconian grip on the fourth estate. While pre-censorship of publications was nixed last month, arbitrary laws remain on the books and journals are frequently suspended for overstepping the opaque legal bounds that work to keep the press in check.
However, during the recent reshuffle of the president’s cabinet, Minister of Information and renown hardliner Kyaw Hsan was replaced by Aung Kyi, who said this week that journals may be able to print daily editions starting in 2013.