Wednesday, June 10, 2009

SPDC Extends Ethnic Radio Program for Propaganda

Sittwe (Narinjara): The Burmese military junta has extended its ethnic radio programs to one hour long in order to propagate its strategies and activities among the ethnic nationalities of Burma.

One listener said, "The ethnic radio program for seven major nationalities in Burma was being aired through Myanmar Broadcasting Service in Naypyidaw and each nationality gets one hour on air per day in their respective languages."

The seven major nationalities that are represented in the radio program are Arakanese, Mon, Kachin, Shan, Karen, Kayah, and Chin.

"The Arakanese program is aired every day from 3:30 pm to 4:30 pm. Most of the time is used for Arakanese national songs. But the radio airs the policies of the military junta between the songs, one after one, using up nearly 30 minutes," the listener said.

The Burmese military authority did not allow the airing of Arakanese nationalist songs in the past, but is now attempting to draw Arakanese to listen to the radio program.

According to a local source, even though the Arakanese radio program airs Arakanese songs through the Myanmar Broadcasting Service, the program is less popular than the BBC, VOA, and RFA. The majority of people are still listening to the BBC, VOA, and RFA to get accurate and unbiased news stories about Burma.

When asked over the phone about Sittwe FM radio, a monk told Narinjara that Burma Information Minister Brig-Gen Kyaw Hsan once told a senior monk in Sittwe that the Burmese military junta has been defeated in the media war with opposition groups, despite the junta having the upper hand in other sectors.

The military junta recently set up a FM radio station in Sittwe to propagate its policies. Before the radio program, the junta had set up a printing house in Sittwe to publish its newspapers - Kaymon and New Light of Myanmar - for local distribution to Arakanese. However, these attempts to target people with media have apparently failed to gain the support of Arakanese.

Radio Free Asia (Burmese) and the Democratic Voice of Burma also air programs every day in the various ethnic languages, and all major ethnic nationalities in Burma receive nearly 30 minutes a day of programming in their language.

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