Myanmar Times Newspaper EnglishThe Myanmar Times Newspaper English
Myanmar embassy: About fake news in Southeast Asia.
With the shocking arrest of Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo in Myanmar, we felt it appropriate to agree with this article by RJ, a former Myanmar Times editor who saw the newspaper decayed by the censors. AUTOR'S NOTE: On Tuesday, December 12, a newspaperman by the name of Wa Lone-one of my former Myanmar Times counterparts, now a Reuters reporters, was detained on the edge of Yangon while working on a history of the war.
Walt Lone and another reporter called Kyaw Soe Oo were indicted under a law from the Colonies with a 14-year high. He' s one of the most gifted journalists I've ever seen, and his arrests are the last in a long series of assaults on Myanmar's media freedoms. Meanwhile, since McSweeney's narrative was presented, the number of Rohingya displaced persons who have been compelled to Bangladesh has approximately 623,000.
Of course I was honoured to be there, which in this particular case means holding on to an inch of steel outside a Mandalay voting chamber next to a hundred of screaming Myanmar men. Being a Myanmar Times reporter, I was really excited to be there. Speaking little of any Myanmar tongue, I had less than a hundred hours of Myanmar history and could barely deal with the battered Honda motorcycle I had hired - let alone decode the subtleties of Myanmar's first nationwide elections.
When I submitted my tale later that night, it was clear that the whole nation had been won by the democratic process. When I left the Myanmar Times fifteen month later, I knew that it was possible to manipulate it. Can' believe everything you saw on the newscast. Those weren't issues I was thinking about when I took the Myanmar Times position.
I had Myanmar on my shortlist of places I wanted to work - to be perfectly frank, I couldn't have put it on a single card - but I was twenty-two years old and curious about any performance that didn't feature a socially responsible person in its employment record. Myanmar was to have its first nationwide election in six month when I took the bid.
I would work for an organisation called "the oldest English-speaking newspaper in the country". Today's and former staff members raved about their experiences, and South East Asiatic intelligence junkie thought it was one of the best thugs in the area. A child from Suburbia, Tennessee, with a bachelor's in literature writing, the attraction of working with experienced overseas correspondent and some of Myanmar's best reporters prevailed over the fear of relocating to one of the least advanced states.
Looking back, I should have been concerned that the book had survived years of militarily censored publishing and was currently in the possession of a military-friendly business man; in fact, it just made the bid much more uplifting. By the mid-2000s, the cost of a stand-alone phone had dropped from $1,500 under the army jungle to $1.50 when I got there in 2015.
When I first started with the newspaper, it really felt like the heart beat of the people. Among my staff were award-winning writers and some of the best regional journalists in the land, most of whom spent their pauses blasting tobacco from the draughty third storey lounges-windows. Pushed the pistons and back to our desks-safe, there was fuzz in the twenty-four-page tabloid that the crew was pumping out every single notch, but it ran alongside some of the most reliable politics and statewide news out in the land.
When a hurricane hit the Bay of Bengal, most of the land was inundated in the weeks I was there, and just a few short weeks later I was sent to meet the aid efforts by jumping frantically through the Ayeyarwady River valley with a canistered volunteer coach. Among the church directors and locals I recall looking around and finding that there are no other West German journalists working on this one.
This journey resulted in a cover tale of how Aung San Suu Kyi, the NLD's much-loved democracy activist and NLD chief, fought illicitly before the start of the electoral campaign under the patronage of donations of rice for tsunami-killers. The Myanmar Times reported on genuine messages and published truth that no one else would publish.
The mango stalls became avocados stalls; the message cycles became frantic. Returning to Yangon, the employees exchanged tales of old ladies crying in front of the polling stations after they had cast the first voice of their life. Myanmar's speech has no words for "democracy," so the humans used them. "Suddenly I heard it dropping from everyone's lips.
It' s unbelievable how quickly the newspaper's hopes developed: within a few short months of Aung San Suu Kyi's notable election win, the Myanmar Times had started to atrophy. In spite of its early repudiation of the country’ line, the Myanmar Times turned a blind eye in 2012 when the revised army regime repealed the law of censure before its publication.
Until then, the Aussie and the General's kid had been arrested, imprisoned and subjected to deliberate massacres - due in part to the use of the army and in part to Dunkley's preference for nonsense - and within two years the bulk of the property had passed into the possession of U Thein Tun, a celebrity drinks tycoon. So he could say he owns the paper.
As the Chairman stayed away from his day-to-day business, I did not feel his impact on the workforce until a months after the elections. We' had released a tale of twelve men sentenced for education with the'Myanmar Muslim Army' (a doubtful, outrageous threat), and our reporting was on the front page, over the wrinkle.
In the last year and a half, the United Nations and other relief organizations have charged Myanmar's army with massive systematic robbery, plundering, torching and killing of the Rohingya on the basis of refugee interviewing and satirical images of destroyed communities. Throughout the world, several hundred thousand Rohingya have escaped on ships run by trafficked men, and are more likely to risk enslavement than warriors.
Given the circumstance, the accusations of the "Muslim army" were great novelties - if they were real, they have proven that the Tatmadaw, Myanmar's army, had proof of an impending uprising. When they were wrong, as was more likely, the reports showed that the former leader of the regime was gathering together blameless Moslem men for fictitious accusations. After a few leagues of reporting, the Chairman said to us that we should never use the term Moslem on the front page again.
They were bewildered. When a country-wide handover of sovereignty became established, our proprietor wanted to censure an important message? At our meetings with the CEO and COO, we were told that the Myanmar Times is a "pro-Muslim" newspaper. In fact, much - but by no means all the opinions of Bamar/Buddhists - is anti-Muslim, a feeling that is neither the editors of our newspaper nor, we believe, the vast majority of our readership shares.
It is our belief that the conflicting, inappropriate and non-realistic statements in the communication of 14 December would result in a significant reduction in the number of people who now have confidence that our newspaper will supply them with unbiased, objective, balanced and well-questioned information about what is happening in that state.
It felt like a big thing to me, the newest employee, but then the offices shut down for a whole weeks between Christmas and New Year. There were no papers published, no regulations followed or not followed. The Myanmar Times had no real editor-in-chief.
Dear editor-in-chief with a quiet appearance tend to make last minute phone conversations, but each editors worked with his own section to maintain it. In the expatriate editorship, they exchanged plot ideas about milky teas in the pavement teafood store. about the new boss.
Our most seasoned journalist stepped on a writing table after Tegjeu had kept a religious history off the front page - in the end the history was bury and our journalist hobbled from a fractured toes. Meanwhile, outside the editorial office, the outside worid sunny view of Myanmar's continuing democracy transformation. Although it maintained an efficient parliamentary vote, the army gave peaceful control and agreed to its election failure by giving the women, who had once forced her to be grounded, the rein to lead the state.
Myanmar-speaking papers on every turn of the road trumped the change, with photographs of the country's heroes on every front page. A Malaysian boyfriend was recruited by Tsegjeu to take his place - a man with no Myanmar expertise and no cutting ability. And then the journalist who stepped on the desktop has had enough of our dwindling autonomy, after Mr Tegeu had compelled us to send an undeserved excuse to a colleague of our head.
Myanmar's new editor-in-chief immediately named our Myanmar senior policy analyst head of the tribunal, thereby removing one of the country's most networked reports. All the rest of the personnel were in shock, but we reported as best we could. There was a turning point in October when a great Rohingya history was broken: a group of Islamic rebels reported killing nine frontier soldiers in the north of Rakhine State.
As a reaction to this, the Tatmadaw started a rebellion against burnt soil in the area where most Rohingya are living. When the army was hunting down a terrorist, our investigator reported a dozen accusations of violence against the troops by Rohingya-wives. The spokesman for the marionette chairman balanced the Facebook affair and brutally attacked the author's coverage and ethic.
Soon Myanmar called the Myanmar Times the extreme right'fake news' on Facebook. He and a new COO - a former spy in the Information Department - meet the journalist in a inner -city pub four day after the film. "The whole task force has also been rebuked and ordered not to cover current safety missions, Muslims or the war.
We had stepped into the empire of full-fledged, government-driven gagging of the sovereign media - a reversion to the years of Soviet warfare. At the end of 2016, more than a year had elapsed since the groundbreaking elections, and the NLD was gradually putting Myanmar under scrutiny. In 1991, Aung San Suu Kyi, who received the Nobel Prize for her non-violent activities against the army regimes, had tried to push forward a peacemaking operation to end the country's decades-long civilian conflict.
While the United States had repealed the last of its penalties against certain members of the élite category "crony," many of whom had been placed on the black list because of ties with the former army regimé. Tourist businesses have routine cited Myanmar as one of the most hot spots for the fearless hikers. Yet the new Rohingya head of the government kept largely quiet, refused to allow reporters to enter the area, denied abuses and defended the securitytocols.
Also the Myanmar Times stayed silent. A former journalist later pointed out the irony that a newspaper that had suffered so much under army domination was cut down to garbage in such a auspicious age. Surviving an offical programme of censure (complete with last minutes redline of administration officers and redesign of the front page), a large clone, two different army commanders and a riot run by monks - either censured or non-censured - the Myanmar Times had always had a unique and autonomous operation aimed at reporting the messages that it could.
That' s when I realised that the reality does not lie in who is running a newsmagazine. Morality was drying up as more workers went. Newsrooms, once electrical with the buzzing of collective messages, were losing their momentum. Newspaper was no longer "the beat of the nation"- or perhaps it was, and the people simply did not have much interest in Rohingya newscasts.
We were counterfeit messages, the scum of what's remaining if you leave out the true storyline. At that time, there were only a few English mother-tongue translators who held up various columns of the old message beat, but we let down one by one. Myanmar our best Myanmar correspondents have also gone away, some to improve the possibilities of journalistship at Wired Service, others to make a less disgraceful career: the journalist who once reported on insurgent forces now operates a small grocery shop on the edge of Yangon.
Soon after I did, Tegjeu resigned, invoking familial grounds. Sometimes it competes with the state-run Global New Light of Myanmar because it is willing to disregard all tales that poorly reflects on the Tatmadaw. No one I know is taking the Myanmar Times any more seriously. The Rohingya crises, about which the newspaper did not want to cover, has only got worse.
A group of gunmen who claimed to be Rohingya in August 2017 assaulted Myanmar's frontier guards in a striking commemorating the October 2016 war. The UN has estimated at the moment of this letter that the number of refugees in Bangladesh could rise above three hundred thousand in a few day's only. Aung San Suu Kyi once again declined to let foreign journalists into the area where the Rohingya are living or even try to contain the Tatmadaw.
A few weeks before the assassination, her bureau issued a declaration in which it accused the UN and other relief organizations of supporting and supporting "terrorists" within the state. An increasing number of my Myanmar colleagues have started publishing reports and updated statuses that have warned against the" propaganda" of the West and described all allegations of Rohingya abuse as "fake news".
" Today, the Myanmar Times no longer gets the criticisms it used to get. So I stayed in Yangon for a few month after I left the newspaper. When I was interested in airlines magazine and the casual history I tried a freelance job - but without a solid understanding of the local culture I started to wonder if these weren't my tales to tell.
I thought this had to be a Burmese journalist. I had a blurred day of farewells and pack crates; I feared my leaving as much as I was looking forward to it. It is a very difficult place for every corner of Myanmar to be.
On a typical wet yule afternoons, one hundred wks after my arrival from Yangon, I left Nashville two nights and nine thousand mile later. There' s a lot of bogus messages in this area - and at least I have been there. One of Myanmar Times competing magazines features a TRISHAV rider taking a lunch hour to catch the daily newscast.
On the southern face of the Royal Palace of Mandalay is another poster board of the old army regimes.