A Myanmar MP who had called the cancellation of a controversial media legislation said that the Parliament’s Joint-Bill Committee did not include all the proposed amendments into the Printing and Publishing Enterprise Bill, which the Lower House of Parliament approved on July 4.
Lower House MP Khaing Maung Yi, also a member of Lower House’s Sport, Culture and Public Relations Development Committee, disclosed the information on Tuesday.
“There was some work (regarding the press bill) done by the committee in sync with the Information Ministry. They said they had already adjusted offenses and punishments included in the bill. We don’t know when they adjusted. But they refused what we wanted to amend,” said Khaing Maung Yi.
He first planned to table a motion to cancel the bill but it was withdrawn by Parliament. He could only try for canceling the provisions on offenses and punishments, he added.
According to Khaing Maung Yi, the Joint-Bill Committee invited only two members of his committee to discuss the press bill before its approval. On the first-day session of the meeting, nothing about the media was discussed and even his proposal to amend a point was rejected by one member of the Joint-Bill Committee.
He also said he would listen to opinions of the interim Press Council during its Wednesday (July 24) meeting with officials from the Information Ministry, inviting details about the amendments.
“Some issues need to be dealt with in the presence of ministry officials. We cannot hear what is all said outside. We cannot read all contents of the local newspapers and journals. We don’t know details about the amendments the Press Council wanted to make,” said Khaing Maung Yi.
Since its disclosure by the Information Ministry, the press bill had attracted criticism from journalists and media organisations for still containing provisions that control or oppress the journalists and provisions that are not related to printing and publishing processes.
The interim Press Council demanded some points to be filled in and some amendments to be made in the press council but it said the demands were not met when the bill was approved by the Lower House