Mining Company Takes Legal Action Against Myitkyina Journal

Mun Mun Pan (left) and Lapat Hkawng Lum

Tha Khin Sit sues the publication for defamation after the journal’s staff sue the company for assault.

Mining company Tha Khin Sit filed a defamation lawsuit against three people working with the Myitkyina Journal in a Waingmaw Township court.

The case against Myitkyina Journal CEO Brang Mai and staff Zau Hkun and Mun Mun Pan follows a February 25 report in the weekly publication linking the company to Chinese tissue culture banana plantations in Mang Dawng village tract which are deemed as environmentally destructive and exploitative.

Tha Khin Sit’s lawsuit is a counter-action following a suit brought by the journalists against the company’s managing director Ting Sau and other staff members for charges including assault, after the reporters who wrote the plantation story were detained by the company on February 26 and reportedly abused. On social media, news spread that Mun Mun Pan had been hit in the face, and Lapat Kawng Lum was forced to do sit-ups.

Tha-Khin-Sit-company.jpgTha Khin Sit Company office in Waingmaw, Kachin State

Gum Lard, a spokesperson for Tha Khin Sit, told KNG that the report which started the dispute is wrong.

“They reported that we are growing tissue culture bananas, but we don’t grow tissue culture bananas. We use backhoes to build roads and bridges for the development of Mang Dawng village,” he said, explaining why the company was in possession of the machinery. “We don’t want to make any problems. We tried to talk to them but they didn’t confess that they had made an incorrect report. Additionally, they accused us of bullying them. That is why we took legal counter-action,” he explained.

Myitkyina Journal stands by their report, they told KNG, and will defend themselves in court in accordance with the law. They will not settle the dispute out of court, the CEO added.

The Waingmaw Township court notified the Myitkyina Journal that they would need to attend the trial on March 28.