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Proposal submitted to amend Article 66(d), says Shwe Mann

Commission chair "Thura" Shwe Mann addresses reporters after his meeting with Myanmar Press Council on 28 December 2016. (PHOTO: DVB)

A parliamentary commission headed by former speaker of the Lower House, Shwe Mann, has called for revisions to Burma’s Telecommunication Law.

Speaking to reporters yesterday following a meeting with the Myanmar Press Council, Shwe Mann said that the Commission for Assessment of Legal Affairs and Special Cases will introduce a bill with some proposed amendments, mainly focused on controversial Article 66(d), which covers “online defamation” and has been used, many observers say, to silence government critics and the media.

“Our commission’s main task is to assess existing laws and make appropriate recommendations to parliament whenever necessary,” he said. “We have recommended amendments to Article 66(d) of the Telecommunication Law.”

Also speaking after the meeting on 28 December, Myanmar Press Council Vice-chairman Aung Hla Tun said that both the Council and Shwe Mann’s commission had agreed, not only on the status of the Telecommunication Law, but on the principle that any other laws meant to oppress the media should be changed.

“It is still too early to talk about how to bring about changes, but we agreed on the principle that changes should be made to laws – including the Electronics Act – that threaten the existence of the media,” said Aung Hla Tun.

Shwe Mann said that the bill would be presented for approval in parliament, before being published in state-run newspapers for the public to peruse.