By Min Khant
In the 21st century, the age of information and technology, powerful countries are using methods of influencing the emotions and feelings of the people in weak countries manipulating them with the aim of controlling the politics, economy, military and social environments of these countries. In other words, the method employed by powerful countries for their interests is to make a targeted country collapse and be under their control without intervening in the country with military means. The method is also said to be a new form of intervening in a country.
To make the method efficient, psychological warfare means are being employed with the effective use of AI technology on online social networks and media platforms so that people gradually have the emotional basics that can be easily manipulated to make them follow the way of masterminds.
The new form of psychological warfare is the repeated spreading of fake news, false stories, disinformation, and distorted news reports turning blind eyes to the truth through various so-called media outlets to the public.
In a bid to create a condition in which the people start to believe such fake news reports and disinformation are true, all possible methods are being applied to disseminate such news among the public as much as possible. In such a way, people will assume such news and stories are true.
Today in Myanmar, almost everyone is using the social media platform of Facebook. Using this fact, subversive media outlets surviving with external support, social organizations of external stooges and local and foreign Think Tank groups are intentionally waging psychological warfare so as to influence the emotions of the people to the way they want, and it is obvious.
The malign intents of such groups are to cause dissension between the people and the Tatmadaw, to insult the Buddha Sasana, the religion devoted by the majority of Myanmar people, to disrupt the peace and stability of the State after spreading extremism among the public, and to emerge a puppet government that can be easily manipulated by them.
In the past 10 years of peaceful democratization process led by the endeavours of the Tatmadaw, the 2008 Constitution came into force that delivered the rights of freedom. Taking opportunity of it, rapacious organizations disguised as media agencies and social organizations on the pretext of philanthropy were taking footholds in Myanmar.
The acts of such organizations initially seemed to put forward the interests of Myanmar. However, after the Tatmadaw assumed the State’s responsibilities in the wake of the NLD-led government’s power abuse, breaching the State’s Constitution and electoral frauds, the masks fell off and their true selves appeared. They then continued the activities of fanning the flame to spread extremism in Myanmar by continuously disseminating ideologies, propaganda and research data that please the Western bloc that has sponsored them.
In the past, although they stood as officially recognised organizations in accordance with the existing laws in surfing the new wave of Myanmar democracy, they then had to flee to foreign countries as they could no longer exist in the country in the wake of Myanmar’s political change. But they palpably continue their efforts using the media networks they had established back in Myanmar to spread the ideologies and thoughts of extremism among the general public as per the scripts of powerful countries that are manipulating them.
Although the primary sources of such groups and organizations left Myanmar for other countries, the networks they established continue functioning in the country with momentum to a certain extent.
Some Think Tanks under the title of supporting Myanmar peace process, are studying the armed conflicts in particular and also analysing the critical facts relating to the power dominance of China over Myanmar after studying the former’s policies and influences. They are also opening free courses that might indoctrinate the youths into extreme liberal ideologies that are also the principles and views of the Western bloc. Some are doing as the lobbies of ethnic armed organizations and NUG/PDF, and also training and sponsoring groups of deserters.
The aforementioned activities are not inadvertent but as if waging a war against Myanmar by deploying ideological means, a principle of multidimensional warfare, and their major weapons are the internet social media networks which become an integral part of people’s daily lives. They are just waging the war against Myanmar causing the people to have wrong thoughts using propaganda means – letting the extremism in online social networks, blocking the impartial and fair thinking, writings and discussion by using the financial power, human resources and technology – with the help of official/unofficial aids and assistance from powerful countries.
The frontline fighters in deploying propaganda means are the rapacious media organizations receiving external aid and assistance. Such rapacious media agencies gradually have become far away from the ground truth by lobbying the protests as well as NUG/PDF using all possible means of one-sided propaganda after the first of February 2021. They are daily spreading a mass of fake news and fabrications, featuring what they want people to become, and see and think, without considering the rationality of such disinformation for their sole intention of propaganda. Since their fake news reports are vividly far from reality, the trust of the public in such media agencies gradually declines but repeated writing of such news manages to cloud a certain number of people causing them to think such news reports are true.
According to the data analyzing such fake news, fabrications and disinformation, in July 2023, media agencies of Khit Thit, Mizzima, DVB, RFA, Ayeyarwaddy Times, Myaylat Athan as well as other so-called media outlets on Facebook pages and accounts described 744 news reports within a month. After analyzing the reports, 281 were found to be fabrications (37.77 %) and 405 fake news (54.43%) accounting for 92.20% of fake news and disinformation in total. The figures are strong evidence showing how the rapacious media organizations are speeding up their propaganda campaign.
For an instance of fake news/misinformation and propaganda, various rapacious media outlets repeatedly described a news report claiming that quartermaster general’s convoy encountered a remote mine attack near milepost-169/4 on Yangon-Mandalay highway on 7 July. The news was primarily reported by media outlets of Mizzima and Khit Thit and further shared by other rapacious so-called media outlets, Facebook pages and fake social accounts later. Contrary to the report, in reality, they just created a fake news and disinformation after exploding improvised sound grenades. That is how they make news of propaganda.
Although the fake news and disinformation created by media outlets, depending on external supports and aids, are to depict and feature a revolution for propaganda purposes, in reality, they all are the acts of terrorism targeting the non-combatants of unarmed civilians inflicting severe damages to public interests. The initial intention of the violent acts committed by NUG/PDF terrorist groups of killing innocent civilians, civil servants, Buddhist Sanghas and teachers, the ordinary people who bear no weapon, not even a needle, is to spread fear among general public and to gain their support in this way. Especially, upholding the dogma of ‘everyone who differs from my ideology is my enemy’, they committed reckless killings of people under the accusation of being dalans/informers. As a result, the majority of the people are disgusted by NUG/PDFs and denouncing them as terrorists.
As a most recent example, a pregnant woman called Aye Nyein Thu, a resident from Htan Taw quarter of Monywa township, was robbed of her belongings and brutally murdered by PDFs on 11 August. That case was totally an inhumane and horrific crime committed by PDFs, affiliates of NUG. Rapacious media groups, receiving foreign assistance, described loosely the incident as a common robbery case just to cover up the terribly vicious murder committed by PDFs. However, what actually happened could not easily be concealed as it was simply the gruesome act of NUG’s affiliates PDFs, as per their dogma of ‘everyone who differs from my ideology is my enemy’, robbing and murdering people who did not support them. People were shocked, terrified and sorrowful to hear, know and witness the vicious murder case.
As a result, people today can no longer tolerate the gruesome acts of PDFs such as brutal killings, bombing attacks to frighten the general public, banditries and robberies, and accordingly, report to Government security forces. Conscientious people in every town and village are joining hands together with the Government in the efforts for community peace and stability, and promptly reporting about the PDFs. Therefore, we all can see that terrorists were arrested within hours and days in recent crimes.
Terrorist acts of NUG/PDFs who are leading the way of devastating the State under the title of revolution are getting worse. The PDFs are now even killing the NLD party members and supporters who do not support their acts of terrorism, and also fighting and killing each other for territory. Hence, many crime cases of self-destruction might appear like what had happened in Parjaung.
Despite how the situation of the terrorist organizations under the title of revolution is worsening at present, it is ridiculously found that the rapacious media agencies continue spreading stories of fabrications and the propaganda bawling out like ‘we are going to win/ we are winning’.
Spreading fake news and disinformation intentionally intensified by the rapacious media groups is just fanning the flame of terrorism in the country with the aims of decreasing the public’s trust in the Tatmadaw, demoralizing the security personnel, and uplifting the morality of PDF so that they commit more crimes of terrorism.
Therefore, the article highlights the need to take good heed of and consider carefully the fact that fake news and disinformation fabricated by rapacious media groups are to weaken the Sanga society and Buddha Śāsana devoted by the majority of Myanmar people, to cause dissension between the people and the Tatmadaw and to spread extremism among the general public and also the research papers from and training courses opened by Think-Tanks only looking for money are merely the propaganda aiming towards the devastation of the country.