VOA Burmese chief put on administrative leave 

Than Lwin Htun, who heads the Voice of America’s (VOA) Burmese-language news service in Washington, DC, was put on administrative leave last Friday following a complaint related to allegations of sexual misconduct.

The complaint was submitted to the VOA’s human resources department by a female staff member three months ago. While the details remained vague at the time of reporting, Myanmar Now understands that it concerns the alleged misuse of power by Than Lwin Htun, and the accusation that he showed female coworkers sexually inappropriate materials that had been saved on his mobile phone.

After a two-week examination of the complaint, the United States Agency for Global Media (USAGM)—which manages VOA and other state-funded US news broadcasters like Radio Free Asia and Radio Free Europe—put Than Lwin Htun on administrative leave pending the results of an internal investigation. 

In response to a request by Myanmar Now for further details surrounding the case, VOA public relations director Bridget Ann Serchak said that the agency “does not comment on personnel matters.”

Than Lwin Htun, who has been in charge of the broadcasting service since 2004, was described by two ex-staffers who spoke to Myanmar Now as “arrogant” but a major contributor to the development of VOA Burmese. However, one of the individuals alleged, on the condition of anonymity, that they had on multiple occasions witnessed him making inappropriate remarks about the physical appearances of women in the workplace. 

Myanmar Now was unable to independently verify the claims. 

In 2019, Than Lwin Htun was accused of sexual exploitation by a Yangon-based woman who outlined a complaint against him in a widely shared Facebook post. 

When contacted by Myanmar Now, he dismissed the past and present accusations against him as “groundless.” 

He did not comment on the ongoing internal investigation at VOA. 

Than Lwin Htun has been the subject of other public scandals in recent years, including being reportedly romantically linked with the adult daughter of a high-ranking general under former military dictator Than Shwe. 

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