By Maung U Pa De
Being a tenderfoot lawyer, I had to call on my uncle who is a retired magistrate to discuss the telecommunications law that is very popular among the public these days. I intend to get legal expertise from a veteran like Ba Gyi.
Neo-lawyer : Ba Gyi, are you feeling well? I’d be much obliged if you explain to me about the telecommunications law.
Ba Gyi :Under the telecommunications law promulgated by the Pyihtaungsi Hluttaw on 8 October 2013 it is definitely prescribed below.
The objectives of this Law are as follows:
(a) to enable to support the modernization and development of the nation with telecommunications technology;
(b) to enable to bring out Telecommunications Services that will be able to provide high quality and worthy services to the users by allowing fair and transparent competitions from domestic and abroad in the telecommunications sector which is developing;
(c) to enable to give more opportunities to the general public to use Telecommunications Service by expanding the Telecommunications
(d) to enable to protect the Telecommunications Service providers and users in accord with law;
(e) to enable to supervise Telecommunications Service, Network Facilities and Telecommunications Equipments which require license for national peace and tranquility and for public security.
Listen to me to be more convinced.
Offences and penalties are prescribed in section 66, chapter 18 of the telecommunication law.
66. Whoever commits any of the following acts shall, on conviction, be liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding three years or to a fine or to both.
(a) Accessing and disturbing a Telecommunications Network, altering or destroying the determination of technical standards or the original form without the permission of the owner or a person who has the administrative right.
(b) Releasing a virus or using any other means with an intention to cause damage to the Telecommunications Network.
(c) Stealing, cheating, misappropriating or mischief of any money and property by using any Telecommunications Network.
(d) Extorting, coercing, restraining wrongfully, defaming, disturbing, causing undue influence or threatening to any person by using any Telecommunications Network.
Under section 80/A of the telecommunications law, these offences shall be deemed as cognizable offence.
Telecommunications Network means a network of telecommunication facilities, telecommunication equipments, computers, devices similar to computers, peripherals used in conjunction with them by means of wire or wireless communication technology.
Neo-lawyer : Please explain to me about section 500 of the Penal Code.
Ba Gyi : Defamation is defined in section 499 of the Penal Code as follows.
Imputation of truth which public good requires to be made or published .
Public conduct of public servants.
Conduct of any person touching any public question.
Publication of reports of proceedings of Courts.
Merits of case decided in Court, or conduct of witnesses and others concerned.
Accusation preferred in good faith to authorized person. Imputation made in good faith by person for protection of his or other’s interests.
Caution intended for good of person to whom conveyed or for public good.
There are some exemptions. Under section 500, punishments will be two-year imprisonment or fine or combined punishment. I think you already knew it.
Neo-lawyer : What is the difference, Ba Gyi?
Ba Gyi : No need to explain any longer. Section of Telecommunications Law and Section of the Penal Code seem to be similar but totally different in punishment and time of promulgation. Besides, their objectives are also not the same. You need to read the law on definitions of statements, 1973. In section 3(g), if there is a difference between the prescription of the previous law and that of the recent one, it is described that the recent one must be regarded to be valid.
Neo-lawyer :You mean if it is prescribed to arrest under section of the telecommunications law, the accused must have action taken under that law as a priority, with penal code to be considered as a second thought?
Ba Gyi : It is up to the desire of the plaintiff. But the judge can decide as to which law will be applied?
Neo : Isn’t the legal advice of the legal officer before suing.
Ba Gyi : Important. Before the suit, legal officers at different levels are able to suggest openly.
Neo :They can distinguish volume of the sections and punishments as to whether it can be concerned with any kinds of laws. Can a case be built depending on love or hatred, anger or bias?
Ba Gyi : As we are not in the anarchism, it is not possible. We must act under the law.
Neo : Some point out that section 66 (A) should be amended, showing its weakness. What about your opinion?
Ba Gyi : As regards this part, parliamentarians can think and submit their assessments to the Pyithu Hluttaw. They are discussing the laws which are not suitable for situations of the present time. We welcome that.
Neo : News Media is defined differently. What about your opinion?
Ba Gyi : The meaning of the media is defined in section 2/A of the New Media Law as follows:
Media means getting, collecting and acquiring information, keeping them in documentation, analyzing and publishing etc. which shall be performed by Print Media, Broadcasting Media, Internet Media whose responsibilities are taken by the media or public information and communication services conducted by any other alternative ways by means of various transmission forms such as texts, voice, picture, audio and visual transmission, statistical data, and graphic designs.
Neo : What about rules and regulations of the news media?
Ba Gyi : News is defined as data, text, image, code, computer-program software and data base.
Neo : According to you, definition of the telecommunications law and that of the penal code can be studied in comparison with each other. As for the media council, what can they mediate between two parties?
Ba Gyi : In section 9 of the news media law, duty and ethics are prescribed. It is to mediate over complaints and accusations with a mediatory committee formed. It is not prescribed that the accused can claim.
Neo : Give me a clear explanation.
Ba Gyi : Any defendants can complain openly. Firstly, police station must accept the complaint and investigate. After that, he must suggest it is implied with which section of the respective law. Then he must file the case at a court. What I want to say is that the defendants are liable to complain of the true process of the case as per their desire. It depends upon the duty of judges, police officers and legal officers to decide as to which section is concerned. They will carry on the proceeding according to the law. In section 9/A rights and ethics for media men to follow are prescribed in which it includes accuracy and scrutiny of facts.
Neo : Media men are void of freedom, being suppressed by the government. Tell me about this.
Ba Gyi : Freedom of expression is within our reach to a considerable extent. And Media Council has emerged and Promulgation of Right to Information is also underway.
Neo :Give your opinion about whether section 500 and section 66/A of the telecommunications should be abolished.
Ba Gyi : One-sided opinion is not good. Whatever it is we must consider from various points of view. Suggest and criticize over existing laws and rules with optimistic minds. We need to amend where necessary. Public desire and the country’s benefits should be prioritized.
Neo : Thank you very much, Uncle. See you next week.