Fri 30 May 2014
Filed under: Human Rights,Inside Burma,News,Religion
A new anti-hate speech campaign is gaining momentum in Mandalay, where about 25 volunteers handed out pamphlets. The Pan Sagar (flower speech) campaign encourages people to refrain from hate speech and more carefully consider the consequences of their actions.
It was launched in Yangon in April by prominent blogger Nay Phone Latt.
“The reason we are doing this is so that we do not have unnecessary problems because of offensive language while we are transitioning to a democratic country,” said volunteer Ko Nyi Nyi Kyaw.
“Our message to all citizens, including parliamentary representatives and government officials, is, ‘Please watch your tongue.’”
The volunteers gave out the pamphlets at the corner of 25th and 66th streets at about 5pm on May 23.
The leaflets describe hate speech as an “unfortunate” byproduct of freedom of speech that has had a visible impact on Myanmar and its society.
“If hate speech reaches a dangerous level, we are seriously worried that it would create a big obstacle on the road forward for our country.”
The pamphlet distribution has been conducted six times in Yangon and Mandalay. While it was initially prohibited by the authorities, activists have been able to operate freely more recently. They now plan to expand it to other parts of upper Myanmar.
– Translation by Zar Zar Soe