Section 66(d) of the 2013 Telecommunications law has been used to silence political advisories and even business competition. The law criminalizes defamation under article 46. The law states, “anyone found guilty of extorting, coercing, restraining wrongfully, defaming, disturbing, causing undue influence or threatening any person by using any telecommunications network shall be punished with a maximum three years in prison, a fine or both.” So basically, the law is broad and unfair.
How does this affect business? In Myanmar it’s known that you need to deal with your problems with others privately. If you drag your disputes publicly then you yourself or your business is at risk. You are at risk of coming under attack from your opposition in the form of unwanted lies said about you and your business at risk of being under fire for some trumped-up charges. Over 71 cases have been brought to court because of online defamation accusations.
So if you have problems with a person politically or in business, don’t share it publicly. Keep it private and try to deal with the issue between the two of you. If it goes bad just walk away and make a better decision next time. As I always tell people doing business in Myanmar, “If you take someone to court, the Judge will just tell you that you should have made a better decision.”
My Rules for Avoiding Defamation Lawsuits in Myanmar:
- Take time to find a partner and do your due diligence
- Control the Money as Much as Possible
- If you are doing services ask for a good percentage up front and do the service in phases
- Go slow, take your time, do think about a get rich quick scheme for Myanmar…. it’s a slow burn
- Never Bring your Problems with Someone else out into the Public
- Avoid getting yourself into a situation that can land you in jail……the jails in Myanmar are not nice.
Written By- Ryan Russell (CEO of Myanmar Business Answers)