Myanmar arrests 14 including Swiss national over film deemed offensive to Buddhism

By Su Chay, Benjamin Brown and Irene Nasser, CNN

CNN  —  A Swiss national and 13 Myanmar citizens were arrested by the military junta on August 8 for working on a film authorities say harms Buddhist culture and tradition, state-funded media has reported.

According to the junta, all 14 people allegedly worked on the film “Don’t Expect Anything,” which was released on July 24 on YouTube and TikTok, Myawady Daily said.

Myawady added that the junta believe that the film is intended to mislead audiences about Buddhists and Buddhist monks, and that it harms Buddhist culture and tradition.

“Despite (that) the main characters were Buddhists themselves, their behaviors and words were reckless to the point it insulted the dignity and morality of the Buddhist monks,” the junta said according to Myawady Daily, adding that “those detainees will be effectively taken action in line with law.”

A spokesperson for the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs told CNN Saturday that it was “aware of the case” and clarifications were underway. “The local Swiss representation is in contact with the relevant authorities,” the spokesperson added.

CNN has contacted the Swiss embassy in Yangon for comment.

Religion is a sensitive subject in Buddhist-majority Myanmar. A Dutch tourist was sentenced to three months hard labor in 2016 after unplugging a speaker relaying a sermon.

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