An Irrawaddy Delta man was today sentenced to three months in prison for posting on Facebook footage from a local theatre performance that had an anti-war theme.
Win Aung, the judge at Pathein Township Court, said Htun Htun Oo was found guilty of online defamation under Article 66(d) of the Telecommunications Act. He said the broadcast was deemed slanderous to the servicemen of the Burmese army and their families.
“The prosecution has alleged that certain words used in the performance were meant as insults to the Tatmadaw [Burmese military] and their families,” the judge told the courthouse. “Our investigation concludes this allegation to be true. As Ko Htun Htun Oo shared a video of the play online, he must accept responsibility for his actions.
“While the performance was only meant for those who came to the event, sharing the video on social media exposed it to an entirely new network. Although the defendant may have had good intentions, we find him guilty because one’s actions should not cause a negative impact on others.”
The theatre performance in question occurred a year ago. After posting a clip of the play on Facebook Live, Htun Htun Oo was sued in May of last year by Lt-Col Aung Myo Naing of Southwest Regional Military Command, based in the Irrawaddy Delta. The military officer asserted that the portrayal of Burmese soldiers in the play was defamatory.
Nine students who performed in the play have also been sued for defamation. They were found guilty by Pathein Township Court on 4 April and ordered to pay fines.
Read more about the controversy surrounding Article 66(d) HERE.