Myanmar shadow government launches radio programme

Myanmar shadow government launches radio programme

'Radio NUG' to provide updates on junta abuses, Covid news and self-defence updates

An anti-coup protester gives a three-finger salute during a march on the anniversary of a 1988 uprising, in Mandalay, Myanmar on Aug 8. (Still from social media via Reuters)
An anti-coup protester gives a three-finger salute during a march on the anniversary of a 1988 uprising, in Mandalay, Myanmar on Aug 8. (Still from social media via Reuters)

The shadow government working to overthrow the Myanmar junta launched a daily radio programme on Friday as it seeks to battle military-backed media for supremacy over the airwaves.

Myanmar has been in turmoil since the civilian administration of Aung San Suu Kyi was ousted in a February coup, sparking huge pro-democracy protests and a bloody military crackdown.

Dissident lawmakers from her party dominate the National Unity Government (NUG), in hiding or in exile, rallying support for the resistance on international news broadcasts.

On Friday the first of a twice-daily 30-minute Radio NUG programme went on-air, providing Covid-19 updates, details of alleged military atrocities and reading out letters from democracy supporters.

Another section was dedicated to local “self-defence” forces that have sprung up across Myanmar to battle junta forces — often using hunting rifles or weapons manufactured at makeshift jungle factories.

“We are sending all our best wishes to you and we are very proud of you,” read a letter one listener.

While promoting the launch, the NUG also urged listeners to buy a radio and tune in — likely an attempt to dodge any junta-enforced internet blackouts.

Friday’s programme was uploaded to the group’s official Facebook page, but it was not clear where or how it would be able to access radio frequencies.

The junta has classified the NUG as “terrorists”, meaning anyone speaking to them — including journalists — can be subjected to charges under counter-terrorism laws.

Security forces have killed more than 1,000 civilians since the February putsch, a monitoring group said Wednesday.

Coup leader Min Aung Hlaing has justified his power grab by claiming electoral fraud in November elections won by Aung San Suu Kyi’s NLD party.


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