Using the image of Shwedagon Pagoda in advertisements or marketing campaigns could earn violators hefty fines or even prison terms, the pagoda trustee board has cautioned. The pagoda’s board issued the warning statement after it emerged that a range of products, including snacks and perfumes, had tried to trade on the famed pagoda’s image for commercial purposes.
The January 5 statement said that under the law, Shwedagon Pagoda is the core of the Buddhist faith, a historic Buddhist monument and the image of the State. It should not be used in trademarks to help sell consumer products.
The board said the image of the pagoda should not be used directly or indirectly in advertising.
“There are no such cases now that we know of, but we have seen cases in the past where we have been obliged to step in,” said Shwedagon Pagoda police officer U Tun Aung. “These cases included the packaging of snacks, scents and essential oils and joss sticks and the like. The vendors immediately complied with our request to desist.”
U Tun Aung confirmed information in the state-owned media that offenders would be charged under section 295 and 295(a) of the penal code for defiling a place or object of worship, and maliciously intending to outrage religious sentiment. Both sections are punishable by a fine, or a prison term that can extend up to two years, or both.