After noise complaints, Myanmar township bans loudspeakers

You might have heard about the Dutch tourist who was arrested in Myanmar for pulling the plug on a late-night prayer session broadcast via loudspeaker on Friday.

He’s facing years in prison on charges of ‘insulting religion’ and violating the rules of his visa.

The case has generated a lot of debate within Myanmar about the necessity of respecting the country’s culture versus the extremity of the noise generated by loudspeakers, commonly used by pagodas and during charity drives.

Now it has emerged that one township has banned the use of them altogether, following complaints.

According to state-backed media, the decision by Pyay township authorities came after a meeting last week when local residents said elderly and sick people were frightened and irritated by the sound.

“Some are using the loudspeakers too much for the religious affairs,” one resident told the Global New Light of Myanmar. “It is better for all when they do the charitable cases using ways that can be less of a disturbance to the local people.”

Rules surrounding the use of loudspeakers are being reformed, according to local officials.

“The local charity groups are not being allowed to use loudspeakers at the moment,” said Dr Sit Aung Latt, temporary administrator. “They can only use sound boxes.”

Hang on… Sound boxes? We can only hope it’s not this kind.

Photo: Tomas / Flickr

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