Press council meets with NLD to discuss disputed draft media bill

Press council meets with NLD to discuss disputed draft media bill

Burma’s interim press council met with the representatives from the National League for Democracy (NLD), including opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, in Naypyidaw on Tuesday as the temporary advisory board attempts to shore up support for a new media bill drafted by the group that stirred up controversy after several of its key provisions were rejected by the Ministry of Information (MOI) in July.

Kyaw Min Swe, the press council’s general secretary, said the group’s officials met with Aung San Suu Kyi and other NLD leaders in Naypyidaw’s parliament building on Tuesday afternoon to explain their recent dispute with the MOI over the media bill drafted by the council.

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“We explained to the [NLD officials] about the media bill drafted by the council and the dispute with the Ministry of Information over it, and our wish is for the NLD representatives in both the upper and the lower houses to join the parliamentary discussion on the bill when it is proposed to the legislative body,” said Kyaw Min Swe

According to the body’s general secretary, the NLD’s representatives agreed to participate in the discussion once an MP presents the bill to the parliament.

After meeting with the NLD, the press council officials sat down with the parliament’s speaker Thura Shwe Mann and a group of hluttaw officials.

“Based on my own study on the bill, there are both pros and cons and the parliament might have to debate when it’s submitted,” said Hla Swe, the ruling Union Solidarity and Development Party’s upper house representative.

“I trust that the parliamentary representatives are capable of seeing the pros and cons and they will join the debate.”

The council’s round of meetings in Naypyidaw follow talks earlier this week with the MOI in Rangoon, where Burma’s Information Minister Aung Kyi pledged to negotiate with the press board over the 17 articles the ministry initially struck down on 9 July.

While the temporary advisory board pushed the government to develop a timeframe for future negotiations on Monday, the press council’s secretary told DVB during an interview in late July the group would ultimately accept the parliament’s decision once they’ve debated and passed the bill into law.

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