The Burmese military has filed a complaint against The Voice Daily newspaper over a satire piece mocking a movie aired on the eve of Armed Forces Day about one month ago, according to the Myanmar Press Council.
The council’s Myint Kyaw told DVB that before the Thingyan holidays, the military’s Rangoon regional command filed a complaint against The Voice for an article mocking the “Union Oath,” a military propaganda film starring a number of famous actors and actresses and aired on the military-owned Myawady TV channel in March.
“The [Rangoon] regional command complained that the article in The Voice Daily could cause divisions between military officials and their subordinates because it implied that the lower-ranking soldiers are the ones who actually have to die in battle while the officials do not really have to fight,” said Myint Kyaw.
“The [Defence Services] demanded that The Voice respond on this or provide a clarification.”
Myint Kyaw said the Myanmar Press Council last week met the Rangoon regional command’s Lieutenant-Colonel Tun Tun Oo, who filed the complaint. The press body — which as part of its mandate serves as mediator in cases where news outlets face complaints over editorial content — plans to meet with representatives from The Voice in the coming week.
The satire piece in The Voice’s 26 March issue was written under a pseudonym, “British Ko Ko Maung,” the newspaper’s regular satire columnist.
Myint Kyaw said there have been previous occasions when the military filed similar complaints over articles about Burma’s defence forces but have settled those cases out of court when the offending publications offered a formal apology or published correction notes.
One case against a newspaper last year, which featured the military as plaintiff and 7Day Daily as defendant, was dropped after the latter issued an apology in government newspapers. The 24 June article had reported remarks by Shwe Mann, the former Lower House speaker, that the military deemed defamatory.