Published on Sunday, 01 September 2013 00:43
Upper House parliament approved the media bill drafted by the Myanmar Press Council (Interim) through controversial amendments on August 30 without negotiations with the press council.
Upper House MP Phone Myint Aung submitted the media bill to the Upper House on August 19. Upper House’s Bill Committee decided to push for the amendments following the discussion of five MPs over the clauses that should be cancelled from the bill at the Upper House parliament on August 28.
The Bill Committee on August 27 held a meeting with officials of the Ministry of Information, without calling the interim Press Council one day ahead of the discussion about the bill.
'We had an appointment for discussion, but it didn't take place it because the plan was cancelled. As far as I knew, almost all the clauses in the bill we submitted were agreed by the Bill Committee and the committee had nothing to discuss with us. If the committee asked unclear clauses, we could answer them at that time', said Ko Ko (Ko Ko-Sethmu), the member of MPC (Interim).
The Upper House parliament cancelled the clause on protection for journalists prescribed in the Section 5 in Chapter 8. The clause specifies that offenses and prohibitions on duties, ethics and dignity of journalists covering all media must be taken action in accord with these provisions prescribed in the bill. The committee did not allow the usage of copyright and archive department journalists associations wanted. The committee also made other controversial amendments to the bill.
MP Hla Swe discussed about the need of the exact definition for [people’s interests] prescribed in sub-section (J) of Section 2, but the Bill Committee pointed out that the usage was the legal term and needed not to define it suggested it to be cancelled. The parliament approved it to be cancelled.
The sub-section (A) of Section 8 specifies that journalists must ethically express his name for the sake of the interests of the people. Instead of the usage of [for the sake of the interests of the people], the parliament replaced it with the usage of [misappropriate actions and corruptions relating to public health, security, environmental impacts, legislation, administration and jurisdiction and socio-economic affairs must be investigated].
Similarly, the parliament amended the clause of the sub-section (A) of the Section 6 by replacing the usage of [news that can be asked for from the departments and organizations in line with the disciplines] and the clause of the Section 11 by replacing the usage of [those wishing to run media enterprise must apply for recognized certificate or license depending on respective services in accord with the law.
Regardinging the amendment of the Section 11 at the parliament, MP Phone Myint Aung objected it saying it should be as it was originally. But, his proposal was in failure in the voting system.
The parliament amended some usages prescribed in the Section 12, the sub-section (B) and (C) of the Section 19 and the Section 12. The Section 27 specifies that if anyone is found guilty about running media service without permission, an offender must fine K 500,000 to K 1 million. This provision was suggested to be cancelled and the parliament did it.
Instead of the usage of [registration at the copyright and archive department] prescribed in the sub-section (B) of the Section 35, the parliament amended it replacing with the usage of [registration at the ministry].
The Section 36 specifies that if printers and publishers go against orders, directives and notices released from the 1962 Printers and Publishers Registration Law, it will be invalid. For that matter, Speaker Khin Aung Myint of the Upper House parliament asked the Bill Committee how to do it. The Bill Committee replied that it submitted the proposal to cancel and then the parliament approved it of cancellation.
The amendment to the media bill approved by the Upper House will be sent to the Lower House for discussion.