Democracy activist in Burma sues 123 editors, publishers for defamation

alerts-button.jpgA democracy activist in Rangoon has filed a defamation suit against 123 editors, editors-in-chief and publishers from 30 weekly newspapers in military-ruled Burma for publishing a report that cast aspersions on her, reports Mizzima News on 29 January 2007.

Naw Ohn Hla, 45, a former political prisoner and supporter of detained opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, said the report, written by a journalist called Yan Yan, linked to her a widely known, but now deceased, pimp who lived in her area.

“It greatly affected women’s dignity,” Naw told Mizzima News, an online daily and SEAPA partner based in New Delhi.

The court will hear the case on 13 February 2007.

Naw is among a group of citizens who pray weekly for Suu Kyi to be released. In recent weeks, members of the junta-backed Union Solidarity and Development Association have been harassing the group during its prayer meetings at the historic Shwedagon pagoda.

Said one of the editors being sued, “We were asked to publish such articles in our journals by the Ministry of Information.”

The Ministry of Information has been allegedly pressuring private periodicals to publish opinion pieces that denounce the opposition and support the military junta. The junta has claimed in the past that the commentaries do not represent the government’s position.

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