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MP volunteers to serve as lawyer for Hot News Journal

Chiang Mai (Mizzima) – A member of the Burmese Parliament will represent the Hot News journal in defending itself against two libel suits, saying he wants to fight for the freedom of the press.  

MP Thein Nyunt, standing, will represent Hot News in two libel cases. Photo: MizzimaThein Nyunt, who is a lawyer and MP representing Thingangyun Township, said that privileged people are threatening the freedom of the press during the country’s transition to democracy so he has volunteered to help.

“There are some people who have abused their power to threaten the freedom of the press and media. This is a battle between some of the wealthy in the nation and the media. I want freedom of the press so I’ve decided to help the media,” said Thein Nyunt.

The journal, which only began publishing in June, must defend itself against a libel suit filed by SSC private hospital in Rangoon. In its first issue in June, the newspaper reported about alleged poor health care services at SSC. The hospital filed suit on June 6, the journal’s executive editor Hay Mar said in a press conference on Friday.

Hay Mar aka Ma Ma is a daughter of retired Lieutenant General Khin Maung Than. She is also the editor of Payphoohlwar Magazine.

A second libel suit filed on June 14 involves an article, “To Seek Improvement or To Generate Profit,” discussed activities of the Myanmar [Burma] Tourism Promotion Board. The article was written by Maung Lin Thu (Saint John). The government-related tourism board filed suit against the journal for libel in the Region Court and demanded 2 billion kyat as compensation, according to R Yu Na, a Hot News official. 

R Yu Na said that the journal had not received any summons from the relevant courts.

In 2007, Thein Nyunt’s license to practice law was revoked. His license was renewed on January 29, 2011.  He told Mizzima his license was revoked because he quoted Chief Justice Thein Maung’s statement, “If the judicial system is unjust, the nation will be spoiled,” in a court hearing.

Thein Nyunt said that in the future he would work as a lawyer for cases involving freedom of the press and human rights, but he would not take cases in other areas.

Last Updated ( Tuesday, 12 July 2011 09:09 )  

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