After bosses get arrested for defamation, Eleven Media drops suits against its own critics

Eleven Media chief reporter Man Thu Shein told The Voice yesterday that the company plans to drop all of the defamation lawsuits it filed against its critics under Section 66(d) of the Telecommunications Law. This comes days after its CEO and chief editor were jailed for charges under the same law.

“We started to cancel the cases we filed under Section 66(d) yesterday at the Tamwe Township police station. The board of directors decided to cancel the complaints, including cases from Yangon and Naypyidaw and the case against film director Mike Tee.”

To cancel the lawsuits, the media company will have to submit documents for each case. However, the company has not yet confirmed how many cases they have filed under the Telecommunications Law.

It is widely known that Eleven Media has sued film director Mike Tee, anaesthesiologist Naing Htoo Aung and a social media user under the name “Myat Maw” for launching personal attacks against the company and its CEO. None of the defendants in these cases have been arrested.

Eleven Media also previously sued USDP member and former MP Hla Swe under Section 294 of the penal code, which criminalizes obscene acts in public places, after the then-MP said to an Eleven Media reporter: “You guys at Eleven are dicks.”

Eleven Media also called on the Myanmar Press Council to mediate the ongoing case against the leadership of the company, which was filed by Yangon Region Chief Minister Phyo Min Thein after the CEO accused the chief minister of taking a bribe.

The Myanmar Press Council responded that it would only mediate the case if the Yangon Region government dropped its lawsuit against the Eleven Media leaders.

The press council was also among five press organizations in Myanmar that issued a joint-statement criticizing the chief minister for ignoring the conflict resolution procedures outlined in the Myanmar Media Law. The statement also described Section 66(d) as “a tool to limit people’s freedom of expression, which is the lifeblood of democracy”.

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