Presidential spokesperson and information minister Ye Htut took to Facebook to denounce a photo that he alleges was originally posted by Myo Yan Naung Thein, a senior member of the National League for Democracy (NLD).
Myo Yan Naung Thein, who is the director of the NLD’s Bayda Institute, denied the accusation.
The photo shows President Thein Sein carrying a child in his arms during a recent trip with the caption “By the way, there have been many cases of underage rape committed by old bats recently.”
The original text of the caption described Thein Sein as a president who loves children before it was edited.
The edited photo appeared on Myo Yan Naung Thein’s Facebook account.
Hmuu Zaw, a senior official in the President’s Office said he was not surprised to see that there are radicals circulating such content using social media, especially as there is to be an election this year, but he was surprised to see a senior member of the NLD do such a thing.
Hmuu Zaw also said he is concerned about the way political science is taught at the Bayda Institute.
“[The institute] fails to follow ‘the dignity of politics’ as expressed by Aung San Suu Kyi. This is why General Aung San said, ‘Politics is not dirty; politicians make it dirty.’”
Ye Htut said, “If the post was posted by him, I feel distress for the party’s image and his ethics.”
When the Daily Eleven asked Myo Yan Naung Thein about the photo on January 14, he said, “I am now in the Naga region, and I can’t access Facebook. If the account is mine, my photo would be on the profile. The cover photo is me and President Obama. I didn’t do it. I am now at a Naga festival and I cannot log onto Facebook here. I cannot say anything right now. I didn’t criticize the president. I haven’t criticize him since the case of the Myanmar Herald Journal. It is not because I like him, but I don’t want to damage my party’s reputation. The party leaders warned me not to. I will check my Facebook account, but not too soon, as I am on trip. “
“The last posts I shared ere about Win Maw and the NLD education network. I don’t know anything about the post [the officials at the president’s office] are talking about. I don’t know whether it was done by them or not. When I can access the internet, I will check my Facebook account and see if it was hacked or not. May be someone framed me. It is very despicable of them to do that. Politicians need to have dignity,” Myo Yan Naung Thein said.
Ministry of Information sued 11 staff members of the Myanmar Herald Journal for publishing an interview with Myo Yan Naung Thein, in which he defamed the president. Myo Yan Naung Thein was not sued.
Last June, Ye Htut apologised to Aung San Suu Kyi in person in the parliament and via Facebook for his wife’s sharing of a fake photo of Aung San Suu Kyi on her Facebook account with a caption that insulted Suu Kyi’s age and her presidential ambitions.
Ye Htut told the Daily Eleven an investigation will be launched to determine whether Myo Yan Naung Thein posted the photo of Thein Sein or not.