The chief editor and a senior reporter of the Myanmar Post weekly newspaper have been sentenced to two months in prison, after they were found guilty of defamation on Wednesday for misquoting a military MP last year.
Maj. Thein Zaw, military MP from Mon State, sued editor-in-chief Than Htike Thu and reporter San Moe Tun after the journal quoted him saying that military MPs are needed in parliament because of the low standard of education amongst the civilian MPs who are elected. The pair appeared in a Moulmein court on 18 March.
The local freelance reporter who conducted the interview and filed the story testified as a prosecution witness in the trial, claiming that the journal’s officials had editorialised the quote, according to the Myanmar Post’s managing editor Zin Thaw Naing.
“[Maj. Thein Zaw] sued our publication for defamation under Penal Code Article 500, for publishing a report that had him saying that military MPs need to take part in the legislature due to the low education level of other [MPs],” said Zin Thar Naing.
The Myanmar Post recently published an issue with a blacked-out front page in protest against the police’s beating and detaining of journalists covering the violent crackdown on a students’ protest in Pegu Division’s Letpadan on 10 March. A Myanmar Post journalist was amongst those caught up in the event.