The military council chased away East Timor diplomats from the country; The Rohingya Genocide and Facebook Social Media

Myanmar Spring Chronicle – August 26 Scenes

MoeMaKa, August 27, 2023

The military council chased away East Timor diplomats from the country; The Rohingya Genocide and Facebook Social Media


Recently, on July 1, the Foreign Minister of the National Unity Government, Daw Zin Mar Aung, was officially invited to the swearing-in ceremony of the new government of East Timor, and publicly met by chiefs of East Timor, such as the president and prime minister. Again, a few weeks after East Timor’s statement that it would join ASEAN as a member if Myanmar’s problem is resolved regarding its application for ASEAN membership, the military council has informed East Timor diplomats in Yangon to leave Myanmar at the end of this month.


How many East Timorese diplomats are in Yangon, Myanmar, has yet to be reported in the news. This is the military council’s first time driving out foreign diplomats after the military coup. The military council has not driven out the diplomats of major Western countries such as the United States and Great Britain, which imposed economic sanctions on them, but by expelling those of East Timor, a small country in Southeast Asia, it seems that the military council wants to show that they dare to retaliate diplomatically against the international community. As powerful countries such as the United States and Great Britain, those at the level of President and Prime Minister hardly ever meet the members of the National Unity Government, and only the Secretary of State has an official meeting with NUG. As for the country of East Timor, the current Prime Minister invited and received the NUG in an official ceremony.


East Timor may have anticipated the possibility of such retaliation by the military council. It is not clear whether there are diplomats of Myanmar’s military council in East Timor, and perhaps the Myanmar military council does not have a special ambassador, and they are jointly appointed along with Indonesia.


In the case of the implementation of the ASEAN 5-Point Consensus, which is a decision of the ASEAN, of which Myanmar is a member, the military council gave the excuse that the agreement was unilateral and that they did not have sufficient negotiations. The 5-Point Consensus was adopted at the Jakarta meeting on April 24, 2021, and it is an agreement that has not yet been implemented.


Another news item for today is that Rohingya activist groups have filed a lawsuit against Facebook for damages in a court in Ireland, alleging that it failed to deal with hate speech and incitement to violence against the Rohingya during the 2017 Rohingya genocide.


On August 25, 2017, the petition was filed in court based on the fact that Facebook failed to remove and ban hate speech and writings inciting violence regarding the suppression and killings by the army led by Chief Min Aung Hlaing, following ARSA’s sudden attack on border security posts and police stations.


From 2012–13, the period when the internet was cheap and accessible in Myanmar, until 2017, Facebook was filled with hate speech and incitement to violence against Rohingya in northern Rakhine State, which has different religions and ethnicities. Rohingya organizations have pointed out that the depiction of Rohingya as smugglers from Bangladesh and the incitement of racial hatred have not been removed by the Facebook Company, and the algorithm, which repeatedly shows content that has been criticized and shared by many people, has been directed towards more violence.


Before this, Facebook faced such accusations after the genocide in 2017, but it did not face any kind of prosecution. Facebook, a social media platform established with the main goal of earning commercial advertising revenue, is the most widely used platform in Myanmar, and is used for a variety of purposes, including personal opinions, personal life, connecting with friends, exchanging opinions, politics, crime, fraud, illegal services, and the exchange of goods. For years, there have been criticisms that the company that owns the platform is focused on economic profit and not paying enough attention to removing hate speech and violence.


In the period before the election, political parties posted dishonest and misleading information on social media sites such as Facebook and misled voters. There is much content inciting religious and ethnic hatred, such as the Rohingya massacre in Myanmar, on Facebook pages, and now it is spreading on other platforms such as Telegram.