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Religious Affairs Ministry takes action against critical Facebook user

Burma's Minister for Religious and Cultural Affairs Aung Ko (PHOTO: DVB)

The Ministry for Religious and Cultural Affairs has submitted a complaint to the Myanmar Press Council requesting action be taken against a Facebook group for posting what it alleges is propaganda and misinformation targeting Union Minister Aung Ko.

The ministry has accused a social media user named Zay Linn Htike of posting a message online under the Facebook group name “Impartial News on Myanmar Politics” in which he referred to Ko Aung’s ban of a Buddhist mantra as “An evil act by the religious affairs minister”.

The post said that the minister had prohibited the chanting of the “Buddha Sasana Siram Titahtu” mantra during Buddhist ceremonies.

The minister, often referred to by the moniker Thura [Brave] Aung Ko, subsequently denied the allegation and his ministry filed a complaint, accusing the Facebook user of “inciting the hatred of an unknowing public and conspiring to cause political unrest”.

“We filed a complaint on Monday with the Myanmar Press Council,” said Aung San Win, the director of the sub-department of information under the Ministry of Religious and Cultural Affairs, speaking to DVB today. “And we will now proceed in accordance with the law.”

Aung Hla Tun, the vice chairperson of Myanmar Press Council, confirmed that a complaint had been received. “The Council will hold a meeting [to discuss the matter],” he told DVB.