Interview with U Aung Hla Tun, Vice-Chairman of Myanmar Press Council concerning AP news agency’s misinterpretation of an important fact from the speech by State Counsellor

U Aung Hla Tun, Vice-Chairman of Myanmar Press Council.

International news agency AP (Associated Press) misinterpreted an important point from the speech given by State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi at the ASEM Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in Nay Pyi Taw on Monday. Concerning this, a reporter from the Myanmar News Agency (MNA) under the Ministry of Information had an exclusive interview with U Aung Hla Tun, Vice-Chairman of Myanmar Press Council, by telephone yesterday evening.

MNA: Sir, it’s learnt that AP news agency misquoted State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s speech at the ASEM Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in Nay Pyi Taw yesterday. Could you please explain how they misinterpreted such an important fact?
U Aung Hla Tun: Well. To get straight to the point, the English daily Global New Light of Myanmar today published the complete text of Daw Suu’s speech on page 11. In the fourth line of the third para, it was written: “Conflicts around the world are giving rise to new threats and emergencies; illegal migration, spread of terrorism and violent extremism, social disharmony and even the threat of nuclear war.”
AP misquoted it as if Daw Aung San Suu Kyi said: “illegal migration spreads terrorism…”. That’s utterly wrong.
To make matter worse, AP story made some serious remarks and comments repeatedly basing on this wrongfully interpreted point, especially concerning the Bengali issue, which has badly tarnished our image among the international community. For example, it interpreted as if Daw Suu had said the illegal migration of Bengali was the cause of all problems.
MNA: What could be the impacts of this wrong interpretation?
U Aung Hla Tun: It can make serious impacts on Daw Suu as well as on the entire nation and the people. Actually, the impacts are already there. Based in the U.S., AP is one of the most influential international news agencies in the world. The international community, including the nations of the world and the U.N., usually tends to heavily rely on the reports by the international media when laying down their policies. As a result of their pursuing wrongful policies based on the untrue reports by the international media for a long time, the image of our country has been badly ruined, causing mounting pressure and various intimidations.
The wrong report by AP yesterday has been reproduced by several dozens of news agencies and media all across the world. There have been serious criticisms and condemnations basing on it.
MNA: What do you think should be done to remedy this wrongful reporting?
U Aung Hla Tun: First of all, it must be corrected as soon as possible. And then, they have to make a formal apology publicly to those who they had caused grievances; here the state councilor and the entire Myanmar people. The correction and the apology must be distributed to all the media which subscribed to their wrongful report.
MNA: Thank you, Sir.—Myanmar News Agency