YANGON – A SENIOR figure in Myanmar’s military regime has accused foreign media of spreading lies to undermine national unity, a state-controlled newspaper said on Sunday.
Adjutant Gen. Thura Myint Aung said powerful countries use their media to ‘disseminate fabricated news reports,’ the Myanmar Ahlin Daily newspaper reported.
‘Some countries … are using the media as a weapon to weaken unity, to disrupt stability and to deceive the international community,’ it quoted Myint Aung as saying in a speech Saturday marking the 14th anniversary of state-run Myawaddy Television.
He stressed the need for state media to counter foreign reports and urged the staff of Myawaddy to be ‘loyal to the country.’ He did not single out any country or media outlet in his criticism.
Myanmar, also known as Burma, tolerates little dissent, and all major media are controlled by the state.
Some citizens therefore depend on radio broadcasts from abroad to get much of their news. Although listening to foreign stations is not illegal, it’s frowned upon by the regime as a defiant gesture.
Last year, the government accused foreign media of distortions in their coverage of Cyclone Nargis, which struck Myanmar on May 2-3 and left nearly 140,000 people dead or missing.
Myanmar has been under military rule since 1962. The current junta – formally known as the State Peace and Development Council – seized power in 1988. It called elections in 1990, but when opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy party won by a landslide, the military refused to hand over power.
Suu Kyi has spent 13 of the last 19 years under house arrest. — Ap