Buddha in headphones lands three in Burmese jail
In most of the world, freedom of speech is not a given, especially in Myanmar where a bar manager from New Zealand and two Burmese men were sentenced to two years in jail after posting a picture of Buddha wearing headphones to their bar’s Facebook page.
Yangon, a VGastro bar and restaurant in Yangon, posted the image of Buddha wearing headphones to promote their bar flanking the image with the words “Buddha.bar,” a reference to the 1996 Paris franchise famous for its electronic music mixes. The restaurant’s general manager, Philip Blackwood, 32, of New Zealand, along with the bar owner, U Tun Thurein, 40, and the manager, U Htut Ko Ko Lwin, 26, were sentenced to 2 years in prison for violating a religious act with an extra six months for operating the bar after 10 p.m.
With Myanmar’s general elections coming up this fall, rights groups say the conviction is a sign of the government pandering to hard-line Buddhists.