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Dr. Tin Tun Oo becomes Myanmar Times CEO

Chiang Mai (Mizzima) – Myanmar Times shareholder Dr. Tin Tun Oo on Monday replaced imprisoned Myanmar Times editor Ross Dunkley, who was arrested on Thursday for violation of the  Burmese Immigration Act, according to sources at the newspaper.

Myanmar Times publisher Ross Dunkley in a file photo taken in 2007. Police arrested Dunkley on Thursday and took him to Insein Prison the next day. Colleagues at the newspaper said there had been a business dispute involving the owners of the paper.

Sources at the newspaper told Mizzima, “The board of directors made the decision yesterday.

‘I am not authorized to say whether Mr. Dunkley’s shares were sold or not. but I can say Dr. Tin Tun Oo has become the new CEO of the Myanmar Times’, said a staff member.

Tin Tun Oo is the owner of the Swesone Media Company which employs about 60 people, and is also the publisher of the Thuta Swesone magazine, Pyi Myanmar journal, Arrawjan magazine and Good Health journal. He was defeated as a candidate for the Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) in the Pazundaung Township constituency.

‘Mr. Ross Dunkley’s visa will expire on February 27’, according to one of his friends. ‘He told us that he would renew his visa, and he had to apply again after leaving Burma if his renewal request was not granted. He was arrested when he came back from Japan’.

Dunkley was charged under section 13(1) of the  Immigration Act.

An Australian embassy official in Burma, consul Andrew Macsay, visited Dunkley in Insein Prison on Saturday. He told Mizzima that Dunkley’s health condition was good and he was awaiting his release.

‘Australian law has restricted me to disclose the matters relating to his case’, Andrew Macsay said.

Many pulications in the Rangoon community are lining up to publish daily newspapers, anticipating permission from the regime.

One editor told Mizzima: “If either the government or the USDP party is looking for a  readymade publishing house for their daily papers, the Myanmar Times is the most eligible one and the most likely one.’

When a ‘Notice’  list of public property of land, buildings, flats and plots which are to be privatised by the State appeared in The Mirror on February 12, it included a building located at No. 379-383 Bo Aung Kyaw Street, Kyauktada Township, which the Myanmar Consolidated Media Group Ltd, the owner of the Myanmar Times, currently controls under a rent agreement.

David Armstrong, a co-owner with Dunkley of the Cambodian Phnom Penh Post, said on Saturday that he was concerned over the arrest of Dunkley.

‘Mr. Dunkley and other foreign shareholders have a dispute with a domestic shareholder over the future ownership and leadership issues’,  said Armstrong.

The Oversea Press Club of Cambodia called for the release of Dunkley on Monday and said that there were no grounds to imprison him. Section 13(1) of Immigration Act carries a maximum sentence of up to five  years.

Lawyer Aung Thein said that Dunkley is likely to be given deportation in the case.

An article in the Phnom Penh Post reported that Dunkley would be held in Insein prison until February 24 and would not be granted bail.

The Myanmar Times journal began publishing in 2000. Its shareholders included Sonny Swe, who had a close relationship with ousted General Khin Nyunt. Sonny Swe owned a 40 percent stake of the company and Dunkley held the largest share of 49 percent.

After General Khin Nyunt was arrested, Sonny Swe was also temporarily detained and his shares were transferred to his wife, Yamin Htin Aung, until mid-2006. Yamin Htin Aung then transferred her shares to Dr. Tin Tun Oo.

The Myanmar Times weekly is published in both Burmese and English. The corporation also publishes Crime News journal and Now weekly fashion magazine and employs more than 300 people.

Last Updated ( Tuesday, 15 February 2011 12:12 )  

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