By THOMAS KEAN | FRONTIER
YANGON — Broadcaster MRTV-4 has issued a grovelling apology to the Tatmadaw for its word choice in a report yesterday on conflict in Rakhine State.
The news item concerned recent fighting between the Tatmadaw and Arakan Army that had forced 1100 people to flee their homes. The two armed groups have clashed repeatedly since April 16.
The military’s True News Information team issued a statement shortly after the broadcast, complaining that MRTV-4 had referred to the Tatmadaw as “government forces”, and the Arakan Army as “Rakhine Tatmadaw”.
The team “strongly denounced” the report, which it said could potentially defame the Tatmadaw and appeared to be supportive of the AA. It said the broadcaster had not followed media ethics and called on the “officials concerned” to take action.
MRTV said this morning that the mistakes were due to the “weakness” of its editorial team.
“We didn’t mean to harm the image of the Myanmar Tatmadaw. It was only because of the editorial team,” the statement said. “We humbly apologise to all Tatmadaw personnel because of our mistakes.”
Since being set up more than a year ago, the Tatmadaw’s True News Information team has regularly targeted the private sector media for perceived errors in its reporting.
MRTV-4 is a free-to-air channel that was set up in 2004. At the time it was publicised as a joint venture between Forever Group and the Ministry of Information.
However, in 2014 Ministry of Information director general U Tint Swe insisted MRTV-4 was privately owned and had never been a joint venture, despite operating from Myanmar Radio and Television compound on Pyay Road and employing Ministry of Information staff.
U Tint Swe said MRTV-4 paid a revenue-based monthly licence fee to the government that amounted to about K150 million in 2014.