Burma press freedom

People read weekly journals to buy at a roadside shop in Yangon, Burma. Pic: AP.

YANGON, Burma (AP) — Burma’s press has gained new freedoms but now faces a new threat in the form of lawsuits from the government.

The state-run Kyemon daily reported Wednesday that the Ministry of Mines plans legal action against a reporter and the publisher of private weekly “The Voice” for a report alleging misappropriation of funds.

The “Modern” weekly journal has already been sued on defamation charges by an engineer from the Construction Ministry. He sued over a story alleging that truck drivers had bribed local engineers to allow them to use a bridge even though their vehicles were over the weight limit for the span.

Censorship has eased under the elected-but-military-backed government that took power a year ago. But publishers say the press is still restricted.