A news report in a British tabloid claiming torture of a child by a Tatmataw soldier using a stun gun has been debunked, but is only the latest example of inaccurate coverage that has hurt the country’s image, according to the State Counsellor’s Information Committee.
The news article written by David Burke containing photos and video in Wednesday’s online version of the UK’s Daily Mail allegedly showed a “Rohingya toddler tortured with a stun gun by a laughing Burmese soldier as Burma continues crackdown on the country’s Muslim minority” that quickly circulated on social media was found to be false.
The incident actually took place in the Mondulkiri province of Cambodia, it is learnt. A Dutch man and two Vietnamese men have been arrested for the horrific torture of the child. A third Vietnamese man is still being sought.
The story was taken down from the Daily Mail’s website soon after it was found to be inaccurate, but archived versions of the article continue to circulate on Twitter, Facebook and other social media.
The Information Committee of the State Counsellor’s Office noted that even though the story was deleted from the newspaper’s website, no apology, explanation or clarification was given concerning the accuracy of the report or the damage it has caused.
“The Daily Mail deleted the news without taking responsibility and without making a news correction for wrongly describing the incident”, according to the Information Committee’s statement. “Description of this false news, which did not actually occur in Myanmar, made misunderstanding of the country only increase.”
State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and presidential spokesperson U Zaw Htay have consistently stated that inaccurate, manufactured news that is being fed to international news organisations is being disseminated without appropriate vetting.
This has occurred, the Information Committee said, following the October 9, November 12 & 13 attacks on Myanmar security forces and after security forces carried out area clearance operations.
“Invented news with false photos and video recordings from other places are being spread among the people” according to the State Counsellor’s Information Committee.
“Recently, BBC, CNN, CNA and Al Jazeera described the false news based on unreasonable statements made by John McKissick, one of the UNHCR based in Cox’s Bazaar, Bangladesh” according to a release from the Information Committee.
The Information Committee said an appropriate response to the false Daily Mail report will be forthcoming.—Myanmar News Agency