THE MYANMAR TIMES
DECEMBER 16 22, 2013
Local paper in hot water over “hate speech”
The Ministry of Information has urged the Interim Myanmar Press Council to take action over claims month-old weekly journal
(The Sun Rays) has been a vehicle for personal attacks and unfair criticism of the government. “We have found that all writings in all issues of this journal that have been published are unethical, [reﬂecting of] yellow journalism and contain hate speech”, read a release on the ministry’s website. “All writings by the journal were personal attacks and damaged the current government.”What speciﬁc action the ministry is calling for, however, is unclear – particularly given the Council was established as a consulting body for those operating under new press regulations, and has no authority to mete out punishment.
The Sun Rays
has made repeated claims of cronies reaping the beneﬁts of close ties to the former regime and the current government.Last month, the journal was threatened with legal action by U Tay Za, who claimed they had defamed him when it ran a front page story with his photo under the headline “Cronies should jump into the Andaman Sea”.
Golden Rock ramps up security
A ban on mobile phones and cameras has come into effect at the Golden Rock in the Kyaiktiyo Pagoda precinct, with Thaton District police authorities citing concerns over security. A metal detector has also been installed at the footbridge leading to the boulder itself,
reported last week. Cameras and mobile phones are still permitted in the pagoda grounds but, like women, are not allowed near the precariously-balanced rock where pilgrims make merit by applying gold leaf.
Monks Sans Frontieres established in Japan
Japanese monks have established a new body to promote ties between Buddhists in different countries, calling the group “Monks Without Borders”.The inaugural meeting of the group, whose name apes the Nobel Prize-winning Doctors Without Borders, was held in Japan’s ancient capital of Kyoto on Wednesday, said Hiroaki Nakajima, chief priest at Joko-ji temple in the city.“Normally, Buddhists do not have regular interactions with people from different schools (of the religion), but I think we can cooperate under the name of Buddhism, which cherishes salvation of individual souls and lives,” he said.Nakajima, who says the grouping has sparked interest overseas, believes it will help with the self-promotion he thinks many Buddhists struggle with.“Monks are generally not good at publicity, even though individually they are active in helping the weak, such as visiting hospitalised patients and natural disaster victims,” he said.“We hope to strengthen our public relations by setting up a Facebook account,” he said.To avoid potential conﬂicts with governments or Buddhist school ofﬁcials, the grouping will take the form of a loose “cloud”, where individual monks support others’ activities in poverty reduction, the ﬁght against discrimination and disaster-relief, he said. –
MP humiliated over back-door treatment
Union Solitary and Development Party MP U Aung Tein Lin has expressed humiliation following a slight by regional ministers during a recent meeting, where he was made to enter and leave the premises via the back door.U Aung Tein Lin, the former mayor of Yangon, was meeting with regional chief minister U Myint Swe over protests on land grabs in Thingyanguan township. This is considered a fairly grave insult in local culture, with perhaps the most famous example being an incident involving King Thibaw and the invading British.“We struggled together during campaigning period to win victory embracing the hatred of competitors. When our party wins our members become government. You can guess how I will feel when I was humiliated by my colleagues who are now members of the government,” U Aung Thein Lin told
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Photo: Nay Ma Kha
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A poster for Workers’ Day, 1978