By Tin Maung Lwin (Myanma Alin)
The members of the investigation commission on Rakhine State ended their first fact-finding mission to Maungtaw Township yesterday, where violent armed attacks took place in October and November. Here is the interview with commission member Dr Aung Tun Thet.
In the interview, Dr Aung Tun Thet explained, “It is necessary to describe the background situations of the incidents in detail. The incident is sorrowful and very dangerous and frightening for the country. The incidents already happened, but what will we do in the future? As for the commission, it needs to be well convinced of all happenings, rumours, alleged writings and opinions. For our country to survive for long and to be peaceful, we must build basic needs. It is the responsibility of the commission to decide what to do the next day and which suggestions should be submitted to the government.”
He added, “We need the media to report the news as soon as it is received. There may be various truths. We depend on news and information. It is very important to know to what extent news and information expressed in media are confirmed and accurate. These days photo-shopping and inventing the news according to one’s own will are easy, thus the commission cannot take these true at a glance of reading. It can be tantamount to being biased,” he disclosed.
Dr Aung Tun Thet said, “We studied and assessed on-the-ground situations. It is impossible to make a perfect assessment at one time. But we will hear what they will tell. We will never criticise anything. All what they will tell will be collected. As the case is of interest by people locally and from abroad, we will try our best for the emergence of a report which is to be accepted by all.”
“While interrogating those who got involved and had suffered in these incidents, we found many Muslim villagers frightened. There were many casualties on the side of the border guard forces and police forces. We told the frightened villagers not to be afraid of anyone any longer on account of being protected by the government forces and police forces. As long as they did not help the insurgents, they need not be afraid and they may be free to earn their living,” he added.
Now social media is more powerful than TV. Facebook users and net-surfers in the YouTube website are apt to believe in the so-called news and information. Media can enlarge a small matter, and simultaneously it can make big ones small. Our commission is to finish the task within the restricted duration according to the 7 facts. The report is not the final task. There will be different views and opinions among people over the report. By assessing our reports of findings, the incumbent government will implement. The government made concessions to villagers—such as reopening schools and bazaars.
If bazaars can be reopened, businesses can resume, which can result in smooth relations between the two sides. Our commission cannot solve all the problems, but the incumbent government can perform to its best. The commission will find out the true situations by getting proven facts.
On the news coverage on armed attacks in Maungtaw district, Rakhine State, Dr Aung Tun Thet expressed his opinion, “For the time being, it will be best for the government media to tell the news. As time passes, it will be better for other media, including international media, to cover the news by letting them enter the area where the attacks happened. Yet, there is one condition — that government media needs to describe news as soon as possible. Failing that, it is inappropriate for the government media to reply to rumours.” The Investigation Commission on Rakhine State was formed with the signing of President of the State on 1st December to investigate the armed attacks which took place in Maungtaw district, Rakhine State and to submit the report on findings straight to the President not later than 31 January 2017.
The commission has been entrusted with the authority to investigate any persons needed, to get necessary particulars and to go to places as needed in the course of the investigation, it is described.