NGOs call on parliament to consult on draft privacy law amendment

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The Draft Amendment Bill of the Law Protecting the Privacy and Security of Citizens was published on the Union Parliament website on 25 February 2019, in order to inform the public.

We welcome the government’s attempt to amend the privacy law. Since its adoption in March 2017, we have consistently called upon on the government to address the privacy law’s weaknesses and fully protect the right to privacy.

Civil society believe that the privacy law should be amended to promote and protect individuals’ rights. For example, Article 8(f) is a criminal defamation provision that states, “No one shall unlawfully … act in any way to slander or harm their reputation,” with the punishment of imprisonment. This violates human rights because:

  1. It criminalises expression that informs people about others’ wrongdoing, human rights violations, or corruption, and can be easily misused by powerful people to criminalise others for legitimate expression
  2. It is unnecessary duplication as defamation is already included in the Penal Code and four other laws
  3. Criminal defamation is undemocratic and should not be found in democracies

As well as Article 8(f), civil society have identified many other important provisions that need to be amended.

We therefore urge government and parliament:

  • Do not adopt the Amendment Bill quickly
  • Review the impact of the current law
  • Take time to conduct a wider and meaningful public consultation nationwide and listen carefully to the recommendations of civil society.

Signed,

ACDD

AAPP

FEM

GW

MIDO

MWJS

New Myanmar Foundation

PCMJ

Progressive Voice

Synergy Social Harmony Organisation

The Law

Law Protecting the Privacy and Security of Citizens (English – on external MCRB website)

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