News and Communal Violence in Myanmar

A fifth article in a forthcoming special issue on Interpreting Communal Violence in Myanmar, guest edited by Nick Cheesman, is available at the JCA publisher’s site for the journal.

Producing the News: Reporting on Myanmar’s Rohingya Crisis” (DOI: 10.1080/00472336.2017.1303078) is authored by Lisa Brooten of the Department of Radio, Television and Digital Media, Southern Illinois University and Yola Verbruggen, an independent journalist based in Yangon.

The abstract for the article states:

Since communal violence erupted in Myanmar’s Rakhine State in 2012 between Buddhist and Muslim communities, the plight of the Rohingya Muslims has received much media attention both inside and outside of the country. Rarely, however, do we get critical analyses of how such reporting is constructed. Research on communal conflict and journalism tends to focus on the how-to of conflict-sensitive reporting and the dangers of employing local fixers and interpreters whose influence is seen to reduce the objectivity of news, rather than on the actual news gathering strategies used in specific conflicts. Based on personal observations of a freelance reporter in Myanmar, and interviews with journalists and “fixers” working in the country, this article analyses the news production processes in reporting on the conflict. The article maps out the various actors involved in the production of news, such as foreign and local journalists, local producers (the “fixers”) and interpreters, and the various challenges and limitations they face. These challenges function to perpetuate a familiar set of reporting routines and “us vs them” or binary narratives, with consequences for the de-escalation or perpetuation of the conflict.

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