Published on Wednesday, 19 June 2013 01:19 Written by Win Htut
Two state-run Myanmar newspapers, the Myanmar Alin and the Mirror have accused the Daily Eleven Newspaper in their June 18 editions for publishing an erroneous story about government plans to amend the 1982 citizenship law. The Daily Eleven headline published on June 13 was titled: “The government plans to amend the 1982 Myanmar Citizenship Law and submit it to Parliament but most Union Assembly representatives oppose it,” and was based on strong and credible sources in Parliament. Eleven Media strongly rejects these false allegations. We stand to the independence and credibility of our reporting and defend our role as an independent media channel to inform the public on the affairs of Parliament and issues of national importance.
The news that was published by The Daily Eleven on June 13 related to recent comments made by MP Hla Swe of the ruling Union Solidity and Development Party as regards to government plans to amend the 1982 Myanmar Citizenship Law. The news was based on strong and credible sources including the secretary of the Lower House Joint-Bill Committee, Saw Hla Tun, as well as:
- MP Ba Shein of Rakhine National Development Party
- MP Thein Nyunt of New National Democracy Party
- Aye Thar Aung Chairman of Rakhine Democracy League
All of whom discussed government plans to amend the law, most saying they would vote against any future amendments. So let us be clear that the story was based on solid sources.
The articles in the June 18 editions of the Myanmar Alin and the Mirror titled: “Clarification of a wrongful news story about the government planning to amend the 1982 Myanmar Citizenship Law” quotes the Ministry of Immigration and Population who states that our reporting of the above mentioned story was wrong. However, there are no precise details mentioned. Instead, they repeat the Union Minister’s clarification made during a Parliamentary session held on November 6, 2012.
In his clarification, the Minister said: “As suggestions given by members of Parliament, our ministry is making efforts to be able to amend outdated laws one after another in line with the current age since the new government started taking office. Plans are underway to early amend some words, usages and fines prescribed in the 1982 Myanmar Citizenship Law because these points are not appropriate with the current age.” Therefore, the Minister has not denied government plans to amend the law.
The government has been using its media as a propaganda tool to cause misunderstanding between the private media and the public.
The last paragraph of the Myanama Alin and Mirror allegation reads: “Though the State-owned media broadcast right news, private media writing the important legal affairs for the State and the people are expressing wrong announcements. In this situation, the people can misunderstand the State and this can spoil the interests of the State and the people. Special attention should be paid," We see no attempt to even hide their blatant comments which violate journalistic code of ethics.
It is the constitutional right and the civic duty of any independent newspaper to report on the affairs of Parliament and the legislature who are making and debating laws that affect us all. Our story does not describe nor provide any details about the proposed amendments of the 1982 law as these have not as yet been revealed to the non-government media. Perhaps our friends at Myanma Alin and the Mirror would care use their privileged position to enlighten us rather than spreading misinformation about our reports.
What’s more, its recent accusation against the Daily Eleven Newspaper does not detail any facts in their June 18 articles.
The Daily Eleven newspaper therefore demands respective editorial teams to clarify and apologize because the publication of the news in the two state-owned newspapers, the Myanma Alin and the Mirror, can tarnish the image among the competitive newspapers.
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