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Burma's Ministry of Information prepares to sue Eleven Media

Myanmar's Ministry of Information is going ahead with its plan to sue the Eleven Media Group over stories alleging impropriety of government officials involving the purchase of a printing press.

Minister of Information U Ye Htut confirmed with Mizzima on October 1, 2014 that his ministry is preparing to sue EMG, after mediation through the interim Myanmar Press Council failed to obtain a result acceptable to both sides.

The MoI released a press release in the state run newspaper The Global New Light of Myanmar on October 1.

U Wai Phyo, Chief Editor of Daily Eleven newspaper, a publication of the EMG said, "Even though they made a press release, we didn't receive or hear anything from the court."

He said that it is not fair if they sue us and did not offer us clarification about what we wrote."

The press release said the June 2, 2014 issue of the Weekly Eleven news journal carried a news story questioning whether the Public Service Media Law favours the state-owned media with an allegation claiming the misuse of public revenues on its cover. The story criticized the MoI over what it claimed were the suspicious prices of tenders for printing presses, complaining that highest bid for a press was over US$1 million, although the story claimed the actual value stood at around $800,000.

The press release claimed the story tarnished the image of the News and Periodicals Enterprise under the MoI and led to misunderstanding among the people. The NPE negotiated with EMG through the Myanmar Press Council but EMG responded that they would not publish a correction. Because of this, the MoI is preparing to sue but has no intention of harming the freedom of the press, the press release said.

As U Kyaw Min Swe, General Secretary of the MPC explained, "Negotiation is our job; whether it is accepted or not is up to the media."

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