Myanmar Times apologises for land grab cartoon

Myanmar Times apologises for land grab cartoon

The Myanmar Times has apologised for a cartoon in its 25- 31 March edition that it says was “inappropriate” and “in bad taste”.

A letter of apology signed by the CEO was published on Monday, saying the Rangoon-based weekly journal was “deeply sorry” for the cartoon and was taking disciplinary action against those involved.

The abject retraction came after Burma’s military authorities on Monday publicly objected to the drawing, which appeared to ridicule the army for confiscating land from farmers across the country.

The sketch in question features a man and woman, presumably husband and wife, dressed in longyis. The husband is reading the newspaper and says, “The army is taking the hills”, referring to almost daily state media reports about government forces capturing the positions of Kokang rebels in northeastern Shan State. His wife quips back: “As if taking farms isn’t enough.”

A statement by the Burma Armed Forces’ Accurate Information Centre, published by the military-owned Myawady TV website, said the illustration by cartoonist Ko Shwe Htoo “harms the dignity of the Tatmadaw [Burmese military].”

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“We are very saddened by the cartoon that harms the dignity of the Tatmadaw men waging a just war, sacrificing their blood, sweat and lives. We object to it on behalf of the families of the Tatmadaw men serving in the army, navy and air force,” said the statement.

Thiha Saw, director of the Myanmar Times, said the journal regretted publishing the cartoon.

“It was a misunderstanding on our part,” he said. “The land grab cases and the fighting in Laogai are two unrelated issues that should not be compared, and our cartoon could have created confusion.”

The Myanmar Times was also warned by Myawady newspaper in an editorial for publishing another cartoon depicting the army killing a dove of peace.

This article was edited on 31 March to correct the name of the cartoonist. It was originally published as Htoo Chit, but the correct name is Ko Shwe Htoo.

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