The Ministry of Mines has withdrawn defamation charges it filed last year against The Voice over an article the weekly journal published about corruption at the ministry, chief editor U Kyaw Min Swe said last week.
“The Minister for Mines has agreed to withdraw the case against The Voice in the court after negotiating with the Minister for Information and Press Council. We will thank all of them in the coming issue of The Voice,” U Kyaw Min Swe said on January 11.
The ministry filed the defamation charges in Dagon Township Court against U Kyaw Min Swe, along with the reporter and the journal’s publisher. However, the charge against the reporter was thrown out because the ministry could not name the person who wrote the article, and the court refused to force the journal to reveal the person’s identity.
The Voice published a report in its March 12-18 edition that quoted unnamed members of parliament as saying that misappropriation of funds and graft had been uncovered by the Office of the Auditor General at six ministries, including the Ministry of Mines.
The defendants vowed to fight the charges and received assistance from Pyithu Hluttaw representative U Thein Nyunt, who agreed to represent them in court.
“This is not the decision of the court but the ministry. We went to court more than 20 times,” he said.
While the journal will not be able to recover any of its expenses, he said the case had been a priceless source of publicity for The Voice.
“We have had to spend a lot of time in the court that we could have better spent in the office but there is no real damage from this case. Because of it even more people know about our journal,” he said.