The minefield of reporting the Rohingya

The minefield of reporting the Rohingya

A journalist takes photos of a burning house at a village in Rakhine state in September last year. As Rakhine is off-limits, most media stories from there are done as part of tours set by the state. EPA
A journalist takes photos of a burning house at a village in Rakhine state in September last year. As Rakhine is off-limits, most media stories from there are done as part of tours set by the state. EPA

When the Myanmar Journalism Institute held a discussion on the Rohingya crisis, it had to be an "invitation only" event instead of a public one. In Myanmar media, it has become mainstream to avoid using the word Rohingya and keep some distance from a topic that is too sensitive and too risky for the political and financial survival of news outlets.

In short, storytelling around the Rohingya, whose mass exodus from Myanmar's northern Rakhine state after August 2017 has led to Southeast Asia's biggest humanitarian crisis, has become a minefield.

The Rohingya issue has become tricky news territory, throwing challenges to those who produce news about it as well as those who consume it, both inside and outside the country.

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Johanna Son

Founder/editor of the Reporting ASEAN series

Johanna Son is founder/editor of the Reporting ASEAN series.

 

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