Defamation Laws In Burma
In Burma, defamation is penalized when one disturbs the peaceful and friendly relationship between the Union of Burma and a Foreign State (i.e. publication of anything which degrades, revile or expose to hatred or contempt any Foreign State, Head of State, or Ambassador or dignitary of a Foreign State. (See Section 130.B Penal Code). In addition, Section 499 of the Penal Code of Burma penalizes defamation and the term of imprisonment extends up to two years and/or with fine.
In Burma, the Electronic Transactions Act states that citizens face jail time for defaming another online.
In an article published by Wade (2011), defamation of individuals and organizations on the social networking sites such as Facebook risk up to five years in prison under the Electronic Transactions Act.
While internet penetration in Burma remains among the lowest in the world, at around two percent of the population, “there is a growing number of people using Facebook.” Many of the laws enacted by the former junta are notoriously malleable, with scores of journalists, photographers and bloggers given hefty prison sentences for breaching the Electronic Transactions Act. Illegalities may include anything from emailing footage, to publication of written materials critical of Burma’s leaders.