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Cartoonists Under Increasing Pressure in Burma


Image by Burmese cartoonist Lai Lone.

Bad news from Burma (aka Myanmar): after a hopeful period of more freedom, cartoonists are now facing increasing censorship. The Democratic Voice of Burma (a non-profit Burmese media organization) reports that defamation cases have spiked since Suu Kyi and the National League for Democracy came to power in 2016:

All of them have been filed using article 66(d) of the 2013 Telecommunications Act, a broadly worded law that allows individuals to be prosecuted for “extorting, coercing, restraining wrongfully, defaming, disturbing, causing undue influence or threatening any person” over a telecommunications network.

“It is quite complicated. So I seldom draw cartoons these days,” said Maung Maung Phaung Tain, [a cartoonist] who draws for several local media outlets.

So far the cases have been limited to mostly civilian critics, who find themselves the target of a lawsuit after writing something negative about a member of the current administration. But journalists and those in the media profession have also been targeted. The law carries a maximum punishment of three years in prison and a fine.

Read the entire article on the website of DVB.

We ran a cartoon project with DVB in 2015 in the run-up to the elections in Burma.


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