Information minister explains need to detain photojournalist

02 March 2015
Information minister explains need to detain photojournalist
Information Minister U Ye Htut says due process has to be followed before the media can be in a position to criticise the ongoing detention of a photojournalist. Here U Ye Htut speaks during a press conference in Nay Pyi Taw on August 8, 2014. Photo: Hong Sar/Mizzima

Information Minister U Ye Htut has explained that the Monywa-based freelance photojournalist Ko Aung Nay Myo was charged under Section 5 (a) and (e) of the Emergency Provisions Act because citizens cannot be detained for more than 24 hours without charge.
On the morning of February 27, police went to Ko Aung Nay Myo’s home on Bogyoke Aung San Road in Luhtakepan Quarter in Monywa and took Ko Aung Nay Myo away, saying that they need to ask him questions.
Ko Aung Nay Myo is said to have been arrested over a satirical post on his Facebook page that mocked Myanmar army’s historic battle, entitled, “Kunlong – 40 Days” by calling it “Condom – 40 Days,” in addition to mocking the nation’s leaders including President U Thein Sein.
U Ye Htut told Mizzima: “Arresting him is not related to any decision as to whether he will subject to punitive action or not. The police filed charges against him when they are asking him questions because no one can be detained for more than 24 hours without charge. So now they can continue asking him questions in accordance with the law and the police can hold him on remand.”
The information minister said that was the first step. “But filing a case does not always lead to taking punitive action.”
The arrest was prompted by a complaint made by a police officer.
Speaking about the arrest, Press Council (Interim) secretary U Kyaw Min Swe said: “The Press Council will carefully think what we should do now and will make a decision. Firstly, we have to investigate carefully about the case. If you ask whether the authorities can arrest a person under Section 5 (a) and (e), the answer is yes in this era, and the authorities have been using those sections of the law to arrest people. Protesters were arrested with Section 18. I want no reporter to be arrested just for writing something online.”
Ko Aung Nay Myo’s brother-in-law said that his family has asked for help from the National League for Democracy and the 88 Generation Peace and Open Society.
The media has condemned the authorities for the arrest.
In response, U Ye Htut said that the court will accept the case only if there is enough evidence.
“Therefore, the media’s criticism against the authorities is too early,” he said.