Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Myanmar: Prosecutors should drop Mizzima ETL case

No comments
Article 19 Myanmar

“According to international law, allegations of defamation should be treated as a civil matter between two individuals who have the right to sue one another in a civil court. Treating defamation as a criminal matter in which the State gets involved, as in this case, under the Electronic Transactions Law, is disproportionate in a democracy,” said ARTICLE 19.

“We urge the new government to stand behind their commitment to democratisation and drop State support for this case against Mizzima staff, and ask the plaintiff to consider initiating a civil case instead.”

“Once in a civil court, according to international standards, the plaintiff must prove that Mizzima staff intentionally published knowingly untrue statements of fact, and provide evidence of measurable harm to Eleven Media Group.”

For more information on international standards relating to defamation, please see “Defining Defamation”.

Mizzima staff are being prosecuted under Article 34(d) of the Electronic Transactions Law (ETL), which states:
“Whoever commits any of the following acts shall, on conviction be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to 3 years or with a fine or both … (d) creating, modifying or altering of information or distributing of information created, modified or altered by electronic technology to be detrimental to the interest of or to lower the dignity of any organization or any person”.

The ETL falls significantly short of international standards as it includes no protection for freedom of expression, and instead has provisions that are both vague and unnecessary in a democracy.

For more information on comparing the ETL against international standards, please see “Background Paper on freedom of expression in Myanmar”.

No comments :

Post a Comment