Monday October 22, 2018
Home Uncategorized Monks to set ...

Monks to set up Buddhist radio station in Myanmar

Ma Ba Tha is in the process of trying to get a broadcast license and searching for a place to establish the radio station

0
//
127
Buddhist monks and people from western Myanmar's Rakhine state shout slogans during a protest against boat people in Sittwe, June 14, 2015. Image: AFP
Republish
Reprint

A group of nationalist Buddhist monks in Myanmar plan to set up a radio station to protect and disseminate their religion, despite fears that they will use it as a platform to foment anti-Muslim sentiment.

Members of the Committee for the Protection of Nationality and Religion, better known as Ma Ba Tha, want to use the station to spread the Buddha’s teachings in the predominantly Buddhist country, said the group’s senior monk Parmaukka.

“It [setting up the radio station] is according to our discipline or code of conduct because we are doing this to protect and spread our religion, not to get involved in conflicts and hatred,” he told RFA’s Myanmar Service.

He added that Ma Ba Tha is in the process of trying to get a broadcast license and searching for a place to establish the radio station.

Buddhists monks from Thailand have thrown their support behind the project, offering to set up the station for them because they like what Ma Ba Tha has done for Buddhism in Myanmar, Parmaukka said.

Ma Ba Tha has pushed for controversial “protection of religion” laws in Myanmar and protested against ethnic minority Rohingya Muslims, whom the government refers to as “Bengali” because it views them as illegal immigrants from Bangladesh.

In May, more than 1,000 monks and other activists staged a protest in the commercial capital Yangon, urging the government not to accept the stateless Rohingya, some of whom were among the boatloads of migrants found adrift in the sea near Myanmar.

Related article: In Myanmar, monks protest over US Embassy using “Rohingya’ term for Bengali Muslims

The United Nations estimates that about 130,000 ethnic Rohingya have fled Myanmar by sea since a violent and deadly clash with majority Buddhists in mid-2012. Others, who were displaced by the violence, remain housed in camps in the country’s western Rakhine state.

At the time, Parmaukka had told RFA that the monks were repeating  their call for the government to never accept the Rohingya and other boat people.

No policy of hatred

When asked if the group would use the radio station as a platform to speak out against other religions, Parmaukka said the monks do not harbor a policy of hatred, which would go against Buddhist teachings.

“We don’t have any policy of hatred,” he said. “According to Buddha’s teachings, we can’t even kill an ant. Our policy is a nonviolent one, and it prohibits us from killing anyone. Even when we have conflicts in our society, our policy is to resolve them in a peaceful manner. That’s why we can’t have any conflicts because of this radio station.”

But Ye Htut, the information minister and presidential spokesman, said the government would not permit the monks to create a radio station.

“No, no way. We can’t allow them to do it because we don’t have a broadcast law yet,” he told a Myanmar newspaper last week, when asked whether the government planned to grant the monks a radio license.

The country’s current seven FM radio stations have joint-venture business agreements with state-owned Myanmar Radio, which is under the purview of the Ministry of Information. (RFA)

 

 

 

Click here for reuse options!
Copyright 2016 NewsGram

Next Story

Facebook ‘Too slow’ in Fighting Hate Speech in Myanmar

Facebook said it is working with a network of independent organisations to identify hate posts

0
Facebook
Facebook faces $1.63 bn in EU fine over fresh data breach. VOA

The ethnic violence in Myanmar is horrific and we have been “too slow” to prevent the spread of misinformation and hate speech on our platform, Facebook acknowledged on Thursday.

The admission came after a Reuters investigation on Wednesday revealed that Facebook has struggled to address hate posts about the minority Rohingya, the social media giant said the rate at which bad content is reported in Burmese, whether it’s hate speech or misinformation, is low.

“This is due to challenges with our reporting tools, technical issues with font display and a lack of familiarity with our policies. We’re investing heavily in Artificial Intelligence that can proactively flag posts that break our rules,” Sara Su, Product Manager at Facebook, said in a statement.

According to Facebook, in the second quarter of 2018, it proactively identified about 52 per cent of the content it removed for hate speech in Myanmar.

“This is up from 13 per cent in the last quarter of 2017, and is the result of the investments we’ve made both in detection technology and people, the combination of which help find potentially violating content and accounts and flag them for review,” said Facebook.

Facebook said it proactively identified posts as recently as last week that indicated a threat of credible violence in Myanmar.

“We removed the posts and flagged them to civil society groups to ensure that they were aware of potential violence,” said the blog post.

Facebook
Facebook App on a smartphone device. (VOA)

In May, a coalition of activists from eight countries, including India and Myanmar, called on Facebook to put in place a transparent and consistent approach to moderation.

The coalition demanded civil rights and political bias audits into Facebook’s role in abetting human rights abuses, spreading misinformation and manipulation of democratic processes in their respective countries.

Besides India and Myanmar, the other countries that the activists represented were Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, the Philippines, Syria and Ethiopia.

Facebook said that as of June, it had over 60 Myanmar language experts reviewing content and will have at least 100 by the end of this year.

“But it’s not enough to add more reviewers because we can’t rely on reports alone to catch bad content. Engineers across the company are building AI tools that help us identify abusive posts,” said the social media giant.

You May Also Like to Read About the Latest News on Amazon Speakers- Students Get Amazon Alexa – Electronic Voice-Controlled Assistants in University Campus Housing

Not only Myanmar, activists in Sri Lanka have argued that the lack of local moderators — specifically moderators fluent in the Sinhalese language spoken by the country’s Buddhist majority — had allowed hate speech run wild on the platform.

Facebook said it is working with a network of independent organisations to identify hate posts.

“We are initially focusing our work on countries where false news has had life or death consequences. These include Sri Lanka, India, Cameroon, and the Central African Republic as well as Myanmar,” said the company. (IANS)