Extreme Speech in Myanmar: State Media in the Rohingya Forced Migration Crisis

Key information

5:00 pm to 7:00 pm
Faber Building, 23/24 Russell Square

About this event

Dr Ronan Lee (Queen Mary University)

The 2017 forced migration of more than 700,000 Rohingya from Myanmar to Bangladesh drew global attention to the plight of the mostly Muslim minority. There was legitimate criticism social media platforms like Facebook allowed anti-Rohingya extreme speech to proliferate in a way that allowed the authorities to justify anti-Rohingya violence. However, while regulators and policy makers have often considered the role of social media as conduits for the spread of extreme speech, the contribution of official media in Myanmar’s Rohingya crisis has been underexamined. This paper will examine how Myanmar’s state media publication, the Global New Light of Myanmar newspaper, actively produced anti-Rohingya speech in its editions and influenced violent narratives about the Rohingya Muslims circulating on social media that excused anti-Rohingya violence. This case study shows that extreme speech by state actors using state media ought to be similarly considered a major concern for scholarship and policy.

Organiser: Dr Matti Pohjonen

Contact email: mp41@soas.ac.uk