Negotiations Fail Between Myitkyina Journal and Mining Company

Brang Mai at Waingmaw Township Court

‘Neither side has any plan for further negotiations, so the case is starting again,’ says reporter Mun Mun Pan.

Prosecution regarding defamation charges levied by the Tha Khin Sit Company against the Myitkyina Journal will move forward, a local court ruled, following a failure by the parties to reach a settlement on Monday.

Both sides were ordered by a Waingmaw Township court to hold negotiations concerning charges brought forward against two editors and a reporter for a report that members of the company—which is engaged in mining and import and export activities—maintain is untrue.

On February 25, the Myitkyina Journal published an article alleging that Tha Khin Sit had been involved in the controversial cultivation of tissue culture bananas for export to China. Members of Tha Khin Sit detained staff members from the publication and reportedly abused them. Those reporters are now suing employees of the company under multiple assault charges.

Tha Khin Sit in turn sued the Myitkyina Journal for defamation for the report linking them to the tissue culture bananas—a crop that is associated with land grabs and environmental degradation in Kachin State.

"The court asked both sides whether they would negotiate the case or continue the prosecution. Neither side has any plan for further negotiations, so the case is starting again,” reporter Mun Mun Pan, who is facing trial, told KNG.

The court will confirm the defamation case on April 1 and will begin hearing the plaintiffs’ testimony on April 8.

Because the assault charges brought by the Myitkyina Journal against Tha Khin Sit were filed at a police station, and not directly at a court, proceedings have not yet begun regarding that case.

The defamation charges were filed at the court by Tha Khin Sit.