Myanmar’s mining ministry said Wednesday it would file a lawsuit against a news journal which published allegations of corruption in rare public scrutiny of the regime’s finances.
The Voice Weekly, quoting unnamed parliamentarians, said Myanmar’s Auditor-General’s Office had discovered misappropriations of funds and frauds in the ministries of mining, information, agriculture and industry.
“There was no misappropriation,” the mining ministry’s director general Win Htein told AFP. “As their false report harmed our dignity, we decided to sue them.
“We regret that misunderstanding occurred between the people and the civil service because of this report.”
The publication of such an article in Myanmar would have been unthinkable until recently, but over the past year, a new quasi-civilian government has overseen dramatic reforms, including a softening of media censorship.
Observers say there are signs of a power struggle between reformists such as President Thein Sein and other figures regarded as hardliners, some of whom headed the ministries linked to the corruption allegations at the time.
“The international media has wrongly reported that Myanmar is enjoying media freedom, but the censorship board continues to delete many stories and local journals are being sued one after another,” said Dr Than Htut Aung, CEO of the prominent Weekly Eleven Media group.