A Burmese military-owned TV station has announced that it will begin airing a documentary series about the current Kokang conflict, starting tonight, 27 May, in order to “reveal the truth” to the Burmese public.
The series will be broadcast each evening after the 8pm news for an unspecified period on Myawady (MWD), and its affiliate channels, MWD Variety and MWD Documentary.
The military channel said the series will reveal the truth behind the ongoing conflict in northeastern Shan State, which ignited on 9 February between the Burmese armed forces and Kokang rebels of the Myanmar Nationalities Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA), led by ousted leader Peng Jiasheng.
On 3 May – World Press Freedom Day – the armed forces’ Accurate Information Team issued a warning to the country’s media against repeating statements from the MNDAA during an ethnic summit in Panghsang, northern Shan State. Burma’s media were told they might face legal action if they broadcast or print news of statements released by the Kokang group during the talks.
A war of propaganda has been evident over the past months as both sides claim victories. The Myawady has gone to lengths to explain to its viewers strategies employed to overpower Kokang ‘insurgent’ outposts with the aid of artillery and airstrikes, while the MNDAA has rejected the government’s claims, saying they have successfully defended their positions and claiming an overwhelming advantage in body count.