Media freedom must be used with extreme care

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  • In the time of press freedom, news media should respect and strengthen media professionalism so that journalists can understand how to use press freedom without harming others. Members of the media who do not respect ethics can impact media freedom and cause great harm to society.
    When covering events and writing reports while enjoying the freedom of press, the news media not only must stick to timeliness and accuracy, but also strive to produce non-biased reporting. But some foreign media do not follow ethical standards when covering the Rakhine issue.
    Regarding media freedom, article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights issued on 10 December 1948 states that: “Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.”
    Indeed, this stipulation is to be accepted, upheld and abided by. Along with the freedom, the concept of accountability and responsibility comes together in finding solutions, and many nations in the world today embrace this trend and work on it.
    At a time when we are trying to solve the Rakhine issue, an onerous responsibility has been placed on the media. When covering the Rakhine issue under the spotlight of the international community, it is found that some foreign media covered one-sided reports with extreme bias. The situation in Myanmar reminds one of the famous proverb – “A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is still putting on its shoes.” That situation is not helpful for the authorities and it causes hindrances to the authorities trying to solve the issues. In some cases, some foreign media released their stories based on hearsay without respecting correctness and accuracy.
    A few weeks ago, The New York Times journalist Hannah Beech wrote some articles highlighting made-up stories at the refugee camp in Bangladesh in which she said “Blurring fact and fiction at refugee camps risks undermining their case”, which can reveal the truth behind the lies of the some news media.
    While making efforts for bringing harmony between the two communities in Rakhine State, the Union Government has released information related to issues in Rakhine in a timely manner. Regarding the Indin Village issue in which 10 bodies were exhumed from a mass grave, the military authorities have carried out a probe into the case and have taken action against 16 people, including security forces and villagers.
    Currently, Myanmar is cooperating with international communities in a constructive manner and is practicing transparency and accountability for the Rakhine issue. Hence, some foreign media should not neglect their professionalism when they cover this sensitive issue. Thus, the given media freedom must be used with extreme care and responsibility.
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