2014 media law en, Study notes for Media Laws and Ethics. Catholic University of Eastern Africa

2014 media law en, Study notes for Media Laws and Ethics. Catholic University of Eastern Africa

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Media Law

The following is the unofficial translation of Myanmar’s newly enacted

Media Law.

Chapter 1

Title and Definition

1. This law shall be called Media Law.

2. The following expressions contained in this Law shall have the

meanings given hereunder:

(a) Media means getting, collecting and acquiring information,

keeping them in documentation, analyzing and publishing etc.

which shall be performed by Print Media, Broadcasting Media,

Internet Media whose responsibilities are taken by the media or

public information and communication services conducted by any

other alternative ways by means of various transmission forms

such as texts, voice, picture, audio and visual transmission,

statistical data, and graphic designs.

(b) Media worker means a person who takes up any job related to

media industry.

(c) Council means the Media Council of Myanmar which is

established in accordance with this law.

(d) News broadcasting means broadcasting to the public by means of

voice, text, or picture.

(e) Newspaper means publications that come out regularly

encompassing local and international news which cover everyday

events, and their related descriptions.

(f) Correspondent means a person who collects every bit of news and

information and sends to any media.

(g) Mass Media means publications such as book, periodical,

newspaper, journal, magazine in which news, stories, features,

poems, cartoons, pictures, photographs, illustrations etc. are

described by broadcasting or internet technologies, or by any other

means while getting involved in the News Media industry either

regularly or at any period which is not specified.

(h) News Agency means an industry, organization, a corporation or

company which publishes local and international news and

information to the media acquired either by making payment or

free of charge.

(i) Censorship means the procedures of editing, removing, forbidding

or prohibiting of contents to be performed before they are being

printed out.

(j) Ministry means Ministry of Information of the Union Government.

Chapter 2


3. Objectives of this law are as follows:

(a) To materialize News Media Industries which are offered freedom

from censorship to express, publish, or distribute freely as part of

rights and privileges granted to every citizen in compliance with

regulations stated in the national constitution

(b) To ensure that News Media can stand up firmly as the fourth

Estate of our nation

(c) To guarantee that News Media workers are fully provided with

their entitlements and freedom

(d) To establish and develop responsibilities, ethics, rules and

regulations and practices to be adopted within relevant industries

and organization

(e) To make news accessible to every citizen

(f) To ensure any complaints, arguments regarding publications or

broadcasting of a certain media are to be settled and negotiated in

a conciliatory manner.

Chapter 3

Entitlements of Media Workers

4. The News Media workers shall have the right –

(a) to freely criticize, point out or recommend operating procedures of

the legislative, the executive and judiciary in conformity with the


(b) to investigate, publish, broadcast information and related opinions

to which every citizen is entitled in accordance with rules and


(c) to reveal issues relating to rights and privileges lost by the citizen

(d) to collect information, to be provided with accommodation and to

enter into certain offices, departments and organizations in

accordance with regulations of relevant departments or


5. Publications of the News Media industry shall be free from censorship.

6. A news media worker is entitled to -

(a) request to see news and information which are accessible to the

public except statements, photographs, and records whose security is

rated as per law or directives of a certain authority or respective


(b) ask for information from non-governmental organizations,

associations or enterprises which are running their operations by

public funds as per the abovementioned sub-section (a).

7. While a news media worker is trying to get news in compliance with

regulations specified by relevant and responsible organizations, in the areas

where wars break out, and where conflicts or riots and demonstration take place

(a) he/she shall be exempt from being detained by a certain security

related authority, or his/her equipment being confiscated or


(b) he/she shall be entitled to ask for their safety and protective

measures from the security related organizations.

8. A news media worker –

(a) has to acquire news by describing his name in accordance with their

ethics. However, when issues like public healthcare, concerns which

generate negative impact to the public security and environmental

conservation, corrosions and misconducts are found to occur in the

activities of legislative, the executive and the judiciary, social and

economic sector are very important to be investigated and revealed,

he can perform investigation with his name hidden according to

regulations after getting permission from the relevant editor and

submit how you conduct these procedures.

(b) In a case for which proper actions are taken pursuant to any

regulation of this law, equipment and accessories of News Media

shall be exempt from being confiscated, sealed or destroyed unless

the order of the court of law instructs to do so.

Chapter 4

Responsibilities and Codes of Conduct to be complied by News Media workers

9. A News Media worker is responsible to comply with the following codes

of conduct –

(a) Evaluation shall be performed to ensure accuracy and reliability of

every bit of information and their completeness.

(b) When incorrect news have been published and amendment/revision

is necessary, and this takes place in the Print Media, this revision

shall have to be printed in the eye-catching position of the page or,

if in other media, this should be published immediately.

(c) While news regarding some cases for which litigation is being run is

published, the person prosecuted shall be considered innocent until

the court has passed its judgment and any news related criticism

which means disregard to the court shall be avoided.

(d) While news photos, voices and pictures are published, improper

ways of modifying them with the help of certain technologies shall

have to be avoided.

(e) Apart from criticisms, opinions and features, no other views and

opinions of journalist or reporter shall be comprised of.

(f) Intellectual properties which belong to others shall not be

plagiarized or published without asking for their permission.

(g) Writing news which relate to the interest of the public, writing style

which deliberately affects the reputation of a specific person or

an organization or generates negative impact to the human right

shall be avoided.

(h) Ways of writing which may inflame conflicts regarding nationality,

religion and race shall be avoided.

(i) Ethics and regulations which are published by the Myanmar News

Media Council shall be obeyed.

Chapter 5

Establishment of News Media Industry

10. A person who wants to participate in the News Media industry is allowed

to set up an industry as per one of the following options.

(a) Establishment of public limited company or non-public limited

company or partnerships in conformity with existing Companies’

Act of Myanmar

(b) Establishment of industries in conformity with Myanmar Citizens’

Investment Law or Foreign Investment Law

11. A person who wants to get involved in the News Media industry shall

have to apply for acknowledgement certificate or business license

according to their business types in line with relevant laws.

Chapter 6

Establishment of the council and responsibilities

12. The council is the only organization which can perform its tasks

independently regarding people from mass media in keeping with

regulations stated in this law.

13. The President shall have to publish declaration and establish “Myanmar’s

News Media Council” in order that objectives and responsibilities

embraced in this law shall be realized.

(a) The members shall be one representative, which is proposed by the

President, and one representative each proposed by the Speakers of

Pyi Thu Hlut Taw (People’s Parliament) and A Myo Thar Hlut Taw

(national Parliament).

(b) Representatives proposed by News Media staff, news agencies,

publishers, writers, poets, cartoonists according to the specific


(c) Representatives appointed by communities which include scholars

and professionals from social, economic, literature, legal, science

and technology backgrounds

(d) Number of the council members shall have to be specified from the

minimum of 15 up to the maximum of 30.

14. (a) The council president, vice-presidents, secretary, joint secretaries

shall be elected by the majority of votes given by the council


(b) The name list of the council members elected by the

abovementioned sub-section (a) shall be submitted to the President

so that specific responsibilities shall be assigned.

15. (a) The service life of a council member is specified as three years from

the date of elected.

(b) A council member shall not be allowed to serve their relevant duties

more than two service lives continuously.

16. A council member shall be terminated from his employment for one of the

following factors

(a) Withdrawal from the council voluntarily

(b) Being dismissed by the President because of these factors: they

deliberately infringe respective duties or ethics to which a News

Media worker has to abide by; a council member fails to fulfill his

duties to meet requirements; he is found to be irrelevant for the

existing position as he purposely breach regulations stated by the

committee; two-thirds of the council members insisted to remove

from their existing designation.

(c) Being sentenced for certain offences and penalties due to their


(d) Insanity and Decease

17. Functions of the council are as follows:

(a) Monitoring and enhancing the quality of the News Media

(b) Negotiating with respective governmental bodies to smoothly handle

importation of necessary materials used in the News Media industry

(c) Arranging to hold News Media related workshops and seminars

(d) Coordinating with the Mass Media organizations to offer awards to

the outstanding news media workers

(e) Developing and implementing plans for the improvement of News


(f) Publishing news whenever necessary

(g) Appointing an officer - in charge for news publishing in government

departments and entities and people-centered organizations to be

executed by the council in order that accurate and reliable

information will be accessible to the public

(h) Reporting their operational progress and further procedures to be

implemented in the future to the President without fail on an annual


18. Responsibilities to be carried out by each committee shall be

stipulated according to principles and procedures.

Chapter 7

Funds and Grants

19. The council shall raise a fund with the following income types in order to

conduct their services

(a) Grants from the Union Government

(b) Money donated by local and international well-wishers

(c) Supports from international and non-governmental organizations

(d) Contributions from News Media industries.

20. The council is responsible to maintain and record funds, to get them

audited by the Union Auditor General Office and to develop procedures

relating to financial accounts and spending funds.

Chapter 8

Taking Actions

21. If any of responsibilities or ethics required in Article 9 are considered to

be breached by a News Media worker, the aggrieved department,

organization or individual shall have the right to complain to the council


22. When the council receives a complaint as mentioned in Article 21, it can

be solved by meeting the two parties and compromising between them in

accordance with principles, procedures and regulations.

23. If the two parties cannot work out a compromise agreement, or arguments

cannot be settled, the complainant or aggrieved party can prosecute the

other party at the relevant court under applicable laws.

24. Pursuant to sub-section (a) of Article 6, while news and information

available to the public are requested to be seen, relevant responsible

person has to deal with this issue so that no refusing, procrastinating or

causing hindrance to the news collector will be occurred.

Chapter 9

Offences and Penalties

25. (a) Any News Media worker who is determined to be guilty by

responsibilities and ethics stated in sub-section (b) of Article 9 and

offensive sentence is passed, he/she will be fined from the minimum

of 100,000 kyats to the maximum of 300,000 kyats.

(b) Any News Media worker who is determined to be guilty by

responsibilities and ethics stated in sub-section (d), (f) and (g) of

Article 9 and offensive sentence is passed, he/she will be fined from

the minimum of 300,000 kyats to the maximum of 1,000,000 kyats.

26. If any News Media worker is considered to violate restrictions specified in

sub-section (h) of Article 9, he/she will be taken proper actions by

applicable existing laws.

Chapter 10


27. While they are performing their duties as indicated by laws, the council

members have to assume themselves as public service personnel according

to Article 21 of the Penal Law.

28. While the council is performing their relevant duties, administrative team

shall be established to conduct daily operations of office work and

required number of staff and personnel can be appointed.

29. Search and seizure of Media related materials such as newspapers,

journals, periodicals which are restricted and prohibited under certain laws

shall be conducted in compliance with criminal law and rulings.

30. If prosecution is going to be brought under Article 25.

(a) Respective departments or any individual assigned by a certain

governmental organization are required to prosecute directly to the

court of law.

(b) If the prosecuting party is an individual, he/she can directly sue at

the court of law.

31. (a) A certain Media industry which has been established under existing

laws before this law comes into force shall have the right to continue

their operations until the expiry of the specified period.

(b) If the industry intends to continue their business operations after its

expiry, their operation period can be extended in accordance with

specified principles.

32. Any of the orders, directives, notice and declarations restricting freedom

of expression proclaimed under Press and Publishers Registration Law of

1962 which oppose regulations stated in this law shall be considered to be


33. While implementing regulations stated in this law,

(a) The ministry may declare necessary principles, rules and regulations

with the approval of the Union government in cooperation with the


(b) The ministry and council may promulgate notifications, orders,

directives and procedures.

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