Facebook offender brought to court for insulting Suu Kyi

Writer: 
Myo Min Htet
Zaw Zaw (aka Nga Pha) is taken to the North Dagon Township court on October 24. (Photo-Thet Min/EMG)

Yangon, October 24

A Facebook user named Zaw Zaw (aka Nga Pha) was brought to the North Dagon Township court on October 24 to face prosecution for his defamatory posts about State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi.

He has been charged under Section 66(d) of the Telecommunications Law.

“He’s being sued for defamatory writing and photos about the State Counsellor [posted on Facebook],” said plaintiff Nay Myo Kyaw, a 34-year-old resident of North Okkalapa Township.

Around 50 people showed up at the hearing wearing shirts affiliated with a group called the Network of Supporters of the Rule of Law. They shouted: “You deserved it for insulting a good person.”

Zaw Zaw (aka Nga Pha), 31, was arrested on October 10 at his home in North Dagon Township. 

Police records show that lawsuits over defamatory posts on Facebook about state leaders and public social affairs are on the rise. 

The Myawady Township Court sentenced Aung Win Hlaing (aka A Nyar Thar), the first man to be prosecuted under the current government, for defamatory posts on Facebook about President Htin Kyaw, to nine months in jail after he was convicted under Section 66(d) of the Telecommunications Law.

Aung Myint Tun (aka Ko Pho Htaung), a member of the National League for Democracy, is still facing legal action under the same law for the wording of a resignation letter. 

Another man named Yar Pyay was arrested and is being prosecuted for creating a fake Facebook account under the name of Nay Myo Wai, the chairman of Peace and Diversity Party.

Hla Phone was also arrested and is being prosecuted for defamatory posts on Facebook about the Commander-in-Chief.

Eleven Media Group (EMG) also filed complaints about repeated defamatory posts on Facebook against the group. Though EMG lodged complaints against film director Mike Tee, who is the owner of a Facebook account named Than Tun Zaw, and another Facebook user named Myat Maw for offensive posts about the group and its staff, the legal process has yet to begin. EMG lodged the complaints on January 27 and March 31 this year. 

Section 66(d) of the Telecommunications Law prohibits certain types of speech online with a penalty of up to three years in prison. 

Translated by Tun Tun Win