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Myanmar junta revokes anti-coup movement publisher’s license

Myanmar’s junta has revoked the license of a publishing house run by a man involved in the country’s civil disobedience movement, junta-controlled newspapers said.

The revocation is seen as a warning that the junta is closely watching the publishing industry for any dissent. 

Saturday’s reports said Dr. Phyo Thiha lost the license for his company, Piti Eain Literature, due to his social media posts criticizing the junta.

They said his writing was a threat to national security, the rule of law and public order but did not say what was problematic about the books Piti Eain publishes.

The medical doctor said the proceeds of his company’s book sales went to help victims of the fighting in Myanmar.

“Now that the publishing license has been revoked it means we can no longer publish anything under the name of this book house,” Phyo Thiha told Radio Free Asia. 

“I have been quietly selling old books that I have published before. I live here on that income and donate to war-torn IDPs [internally displaced persons].“

Piti Eain Literature mostly published books on psychology and Buddhist teachings and nothing that could be deemed anti-junta, the doctor said, calling the decision personal.

Another publisher, who wished to remain anonymous, said the revocation of Piti Eain’s license set a dangerous precedent.

“This means [the junta] is monitoring both the publication of books and social media,” they said. 

“If something is wrong they will ban it. It is a warning and threat to the entire publishing community.”

The junta has revoked the licenses of four publishers and two printing houses since the February 2021 coup.

Some 14 media outlets including Democratic Voice of Burma, Mizzima and The Irrawaddy have also lost their licenses.

Translated by RFA Burmese. Edited by Mike Firn and Elaine Chan.