Myanmar's mining industry drops defamation charges

Featured South East Asia - January 18th, 2013

Myanmar’s mining industry has withdrawn defamation charges against a weekly publication over corruption allegations.

Voice Weekly reported allegations that the government department linked to a controversial Chinese co-owned copper mine had misappropriated finds and committed fraud. But after pressing charges in September over the article, the ministry now says it has asked a Yangon court to drop the defamation case against the publication.

Protests over land grabbing and corruption at the copper mine led to a violent crackdown, leaving several Buddhist monks injured.

“We decided to settle the case after negotiations with the press council. There was no press council when the case started,” Zaw Ko Ko, the director of the Ministry of Mining, told AFP on Thursday.

However, the move will not immediately halt the prosecution with the court yet to decide whether it will accept the application.

The country set up the interim press council to draft a new media law after lifting the pre-publication censors in August amid sweeping economic and political reforms in the country.