HRW Warns That the Election Commission Gag To Prevent Criticism of Military is Dangerous

Burma’s Union Election Committee has announced highly restrictive regulations on statements made by political parties in the upcoming nationwide election.

The regulations include vetting statements made by political parties and limit them to 15 minutes on state-controlled media outlets and an outright ban of criticism against the country’s all-powerful military.

The UEC said that information “that can split the Tatmadaw [Burma’s Armed Forces] or that can disgrace and damage the dignity of the Tatmadaw” was not allowed.

warned that the regulations were essentially ‘gagging orders’ to stop freedom of speech.

Brad Adams, Human Rights Watch’s Asia Director said, “the role of the military and possibly amending the constitution are central issues in the upcoming election.”

Mr Adam’s warned that the order issued by the Election Mission was an indication that it was pandering to the military.

“A gag order on criticizing the military and the constitution shows the army’s lack of commitment to democracy. This throwback to the days of military dictatorship reveals the dangerous collusion between the armed forces and the election commission.”

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