Award-winning journalists call out pro-Muslim bias in AP, Reuters, BBC Myanmar coverage
Friday, September 22, 2017
BCF : Headlines with prominent references to “genocide” and “ethnic cleansing’ in Myanmar make veteran journalist Daw Aye Aye Win uneasy, as she explains she feels international media coverage about what is happening in northern Rakhine State fails to tell the whole story of the crisis.
Currently, the region is reeling from Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) attacks on 30 police outposts on Aug. 25
and subsequent violence affecting civilians. The Myanmar government
declared the Muslim militant group a terrorist organization and has
since begun “clearance operations” in the area, leading to Buddhist
Rakhine, self-identifying Rohingya Muslims and other Rakhine sub-ethnicities to flee their homes.
Since the outbreak of the ARSA attacks, international media has not
been short of stories from the area, mainly focusing on the
self-identifying Rohingya. Much of the coverage has been perceived by
Myanmar people of different walks of life as not being balanced and
fair, with accusations that the coverage has failed to give views from
both sides and has neglected the experiences of ethnic Rakhine and
others in favor of Muslims’ accounts.
Daw Aye Aye Win, award-winning former resident correspondent for Associated Press (AP), said she considers much of the international reporting on the issue to be lacking. “I feel really disappointed, including by some stories from AP. They
are biased and disproportionate,” alleged the 64-year old who worked for
the US news agency for nearly 26 years.
The only living Myanmar female journalist to have
won four international journalism awards, including one for her
“life-long dedication to honest and courageous journalism, often at the
risk of personal safety” wondered aloud why many of the
stories on Rakhine State, including some from her former agency, only
have voices from the self-identifying Rohingya while views from the
Arakanese and others are nowhere to be seen. “Have they forgotten about media ethics?” she asked.