Union Minister for Information Dr Pe Myint held talks with local journalists and foreign correspondents in Yangon yesterday over the issue of fake news disseminated in international communities on the issues in northern Rakhine State.
The Union minister called the Rakhine situation a “side issue” which emerged while the country was heading positively toward a federal democratic nation.
“When the conflicts occurred in Rakhine State, Muslims emigrated into Bangladesh and they returned when the situation returned to normalcy, and as a result, the population of ethnic Rakhine people has decreased and the population of Muslims has increased there”, he said.
By highlighting displaced people at IDP camps in Rakhine, international communities are putting pressure on Myanmar and accusing the country of oppressing minorities, he added.
With the 9 October attacks by terrorists on police outposts in 2016, the previous conflicts between the two communities in Rakhine State has turned into terrorist attacks, which are meant to attract the world to see their movement, said Dr Pe Myint.
“The Rakhine issue can be considered an issue made with political aim by a group of people who want to occupy the area in northern Rakhine,” he said, highlighting the role of the media, which is being used by organisations as a weapon in the communication age.
“Some think that this is a media war, but I don’t think so. This is a political war in which international organisations and communities are intentionally involved with aims and objectives,” said Dr Pe Myint. “Their influence also reaches an international organisation like the United Nations putting pressure on Myanmar.” he added, “Because they who self-identified themselves as Rohingyas have conducted movements for decades in the international arena with the assistance of some organisations with their same faith.”
One year after the attacks of 9 October, 2016, the latest coordinated attacks on more than 30 police outposts by terrorists happened with a huge intention. The latest attacks were not done to demand grievances, but to declaring themselves as terrorists, he said. “When the government did respond to the issue, the attack of the extremist terrorists on 30 police outposts was fading out while the cries of “genocide” and “ethnic cleansing” went up loudly in the world,” said Dr Pe Myint. “According to the previous situation and the latest situation in northern Rakhine, a group of people are attempting to occupy the area”, he said.
“They got involved in the aid provision programmes of international societies whose race and religion are the same with them. While working together with them, they organised them and disclosed their affairs to them. In such a way, many people from the outside world accepted their account as true.” “They managed to spread their accounts across the world beforehand. As known by all, they managed to arouse furore among the public by inventing fabricated news whenever an affair happened. But powerful international leaders also applied the news knowing that they were false.”
“Just by seeing this, the spread of false news has great effect. But we firmly believe that people of politically influencingshow their contempt on us not due to the effect of those fake news. They know most of the news are false, however, they themselves like things to happen in this way. That’s why they make themselves known as if they accept rampant news that are mostly false. What I mean is that we are in the midst of media world and we are attack by powerful media”.
“Their news influences a wide range. But our media can’t penetrate in the media world. From the political point of view, Rakhine ethnics are the minority in northern Rakhine State. Similarly, our country is a less strengthened nation, as known by all. Our nation is weak in every way. Likewise, we are still weak in making our affairs known to the world as well.”
“We have no intention of making lies with false news to the world. And, we will never encourage such a deed. But we assume that it is necessary to make true situations of the country known to international communities, being a problem that is concerned with global countries. We are making arrangements by considering ourselves so that news and information about us can spread.”
“On the other side, well-known friends from our friendly media circles gave advice to us that we should get advice and ideas from local media circles, for this is the national affairs of the country — as to what should be done and what they can give. That is why we invite persons from the media circle to discuss the matter.”
“According to the first programme, your assumptions will be freely talked about. After that, results which will come out will be recorded after concluding exactly, it is hoped. Regarding false news, reasonable responses will be made by removing false news explaining how and why these are not true. We want to implement these. We will accept ideas and advice. It is necessary for us to make the UN, powerful countries and the ones fighting against us to ascertain the true situations of the problem.”
“On the other hand, we have countries of great power, India, China and Russia, which support and encourage us concerning the Myanmar affairs. We need to make them trust us and our situations more than ever by informing them of our true situations. And we are required to inform true news and information to Bangladesh, our neighbour and the one which is directly related with this affair.”
“We assume that ASEAN countries need to be informed of true situations. Here, we must consider how they will be informed. The more important thing is that our citizens themselves need to be well convinced of the true situations, to know what kind of losses can affect the country, to rightly assess which are true or false, to decide wisely with broad-minded judgement and to perform the task of true facts and intellect.”
After the Union minister’s opening speech, those from news media organisations, locally-based news personnel and invited guests shared their personal views.
Present at the meeting were U Thiha Saw and U Kyaw Swa Min of Myanmar Press Council, U Ye Min Oo and Daw Ei Ei Tin of Myanmar Journalist Association, U Wunna and U Zaw Thet Htwe of Myanmar Journalists Union, U Myint Kyaw of Myanmar Journalists Network, Aupie Kyal and U Moe Htet Moe of Cartoonists Association, U Ko Ko and U Thike Tun of Shwe Than Lwin Media Group, U Moe Kaung and U Khin Maung Htay of Forever Media Group, U Wai Phyo of Eleven Media Group, U Zeya Thu and U Kyaw Min Swe of the Voice Daily, U Nanda of 7 Day Media, U Sunny Swe of Frontier, U Thein Tun of Myanmar Times, U Soe Myint of Mizzima, U Toe Zaw Latt of DVB, U Kyaw Swa Moe of Irrawaddy, Scholars U Maw Lin and U Aye Maung Kyaw, U Myat Khaing of Snap Shot Journal, U Aung Soe Thu of the First Weekly, U Myo Yan Naung Thein, NLD central research bureau, U Min Ko Naing and U Mya Aye of 88 Generation Peace and Open Society, U Nay Phone Latt, Ko Wa, U Aung Myo Lwin and invited guests.
At the meeting, spreading true news and information at home and abroad and responding to false news spreading across the world were openly discussed. —Myanmar News Agecny