Myanmar Spring Chronicle – May 10 Scenes
MoeMaKa, May 11 2023
Flow of information among the public amidst the raging war and conflicts
War is raging in many regions of Myanmar, and any news, including the news of loss of life, news of houses being burned down, news of torture, arrests, and imprisonment, is attractive to audiences as special news. This is because the news of deaths by explosions, shootings, arrests, and tortures, the news of how many houses are being burned down, the news of firings and killings, and the news of assassinations are occupying almost half of the headlines. So, despite hearing of such news reports in the headlines, these are not considered special and are presumed to be one of the routine news reports that they hear every day. This is only the view and assumption of people like us who are close to the news media. We are just digesting them so as not to become depressed by hearing the news of battles, attacks, arrests, tortures, and killings, severe power outages in cities, imprisonment, extortion, and bribery by taking advantage of politics on a daily basis.
Among these news stories, we feel it in our hearts when reading about love and affection between people that touch the heart, self-sacrifice and help in the midst of evil, and love between those who are in trouble.
In the midst of the events that seem to train people to become less emotional and harden their attitudes, the events that soften the heart and the practice of a noble attitude in the midst of evil are rarely read or heard.
These days, the majority of news is about killing, death, loss, etc., so I have also heard some of the feelings expressed by some local people in rural areas and small towns of Myanmar regarding the news that they have lost positive hope, lost their way to the future, and felt depressed after reading and listening to the news. I think it must be trauma caused by the news. The news is only negative and depressing, so reading the news gives a feeling of hopelessness and trauma.
After the military coup, news became more relevant to everyday life in the community, and they tried harder to stay informed. It is becoming important to know the location of the conflict, the latest situation of the armed conflict, and the events happening around you every day. The news and information about where the military is marching, and which armed groups are in which villages, is vitally important information for villages in Sagaing Division, Magway Division, and some villages in Mandalay Division.
However, the military council has also cut off the internet in such areas, as well as phone lines, so it is not easy to get information from every area immediately.
If you look at how locals in armed conflict areas try to get daily news, in areas with internet and phone lines, they use the internet and phones to check the latest situation and share it with their own communities. People in areas where there is no internet or phone lines are back to relying on the radio. From the radio news, they get vital life-and-death information for their daily lives. The worst example is the situation in some parts of Myanmar, where people have to rely on word-of-mouth information.
People in some sparsely populated areas in Kachin State, and in some areas in the upper Sagaing Division, are getting information by exchanging verbal information with each other because there is no access to the internet or radio.
In such areas, the local residents only get to know the news at least two or three weeks after the incident, and because news is not life-or-death important to them in their daily lives, they only get information through word of mouth.