Vox Pop: Is conscription the answer to Myanmar military’s woes?

DMG 06 Feb 2022

Junta chief Senior-General Min Aung Hlaing said last week that his regime would push for implementation of a law requiring all Myanmar citizens to serve in the military. The announcement said enforcement of legislation that was passed more than a decade ago would be a priority of his administration this year. 

Vox Pop: One year later, Arakan State stakeholders take stock of the coup

DMG 03 Feb 2022

February 1, 2022, was the one-year anniversary of the military coup in Myanmar. Over the past year, hundreds of people have been killed across the country, thousands have been imprisoned for their opposition to the junta, and Myanmar’s economy has been devastated. To mark the occasion, DMG interviewed people from all walks of life in Arakan State, asking them to reflect on the one-year anniversary of the coup. 

Vox Pop: ‘We produce gas in Arakan State, but our people are burning candles’

DMG 17 Jan 2022

Electricity consumers in Arakan State complain of facing regular power outages while at the same time having to pay regular electricity fees. Some of these outages are prolonged, affecting small businesses, local industries and the broader Arakan State economy. DMG asked a cross-section of state residents about the problems caused by frequent electricity disruptions.

Vox Pop: ALP stirs Arakan’s political pot

12 Jan 2022

The Arakan Liberation Party (ALP) announced on January 6 that it would join forces with other Arakanese armed groups and political parties that are working to create a better future for the Arakanese people. Following the ALP statement, DMG compiled a selection of views and opinions from local stakeholders.

Vox Pop: What will 2022 bring for Arakan State?

DMG 02 Jan 2022

The state’s political situation has not significantly changed now. All are peaceful under the control of the United League of Arakan/Arakan Army (ULA/AA). So, if the situation is not changed in 2022, the state will be peaceful. However, the situation in 2022 will be decided according to the military situation, I think.

Vox Pop: Appraising the ULA statement on potential for sectarian conflict in Arakan State

DMG 24 Dec 2021

In a statement on December 17, the United League of Arakan (ULA) — the Arakan Army’s political wing — said that some townships in Arakan State had experienced a “series of extraordinary events” this month that it warned could lead to sectarian conflict. How do the different ethnic groups in Arakan State view the ULA’s statement? To find out, DMG interviewed people in Arakan State from both the Arakanese and Muslim communities, which have been in conflict in the past.

Vox Pop: Can students, teachers meet the challenges of a shortened academic year?

DMG 03 Dec 2021

Myanmar’s military regime has announced that basic education and Grade 10 students will sit their final exams in March and April of next year. Schools were temporarily closed in July due to the third wave of Covid-19, with students only returning to the classroom last month and facing a compressed academic calendar. DMG interviewed students, parents and teachers about the difficulties they are facing amid a tumultuous year. 

Western News Chief Editor: ‘We will continue to let the people know the truth’

DMG 25 Nov 2021

Reporters from Arakan State-based Western News went into hiding earlier this month after junta forces attempted to find the location of the news outlet’s office in Sittwe. DMG recently spoke to the chief editor of Western News, Wunna Khwar Nyo, about the incident and its implications for press freedom in Arakan State and beyond.

‘Honesty and love’ guide interfaith English lessons at monastic school in Mrauk-U

DMG 23 Nov 2021

DMG recently interviewed U Aung Khin, a Muslim teacher of English whose students attend classes at the Mratazaung monastic education school in Mrauk-U Township. The interfaith classroom dynamics are not to be taken for granted in Arakan State, where a history of sometimes fraught relations between Buddhists and Muslims is well documented. 

Vox Pop: Recent clash leaves Arakan State on edge 

DMG 13 Nov 2021

 

It had been about a year without hostilities between the Myanmar military and Arakan Army (AA) when the informal ceasefire appeared to crack on November 9, with the two sides clashing briefly in northern Arakan State’s Maungdaw Township. While tens of thousands of people internally displaced by the conflict (IDPs) have returned home since the fighting stopped in November 2020, many more remain displaced. By and large, they have viewed the relative peace of the past year with cautious optimism, but are still fearful of going back to their hometowns and villages for a variety of reasons. 

Vox Pop: ‘The new broadcast law amendments are about controlling the media industry’

DMG 07 Nov 2021

The junta’s State Administration Council (SAC) on November 1 promulgated the Second Amendment Law to the Television and Radio Broadcasting Law. For a variety of offences, the amended law stipulates harsher penalties, including prison sentences that did not exist under the previous iteration of the legislation. It also broadens the scope of the law’s remit so that its provisions can be applied to media made available via the internet or “any other technology”. DMG interviewed six media professionals about the recently amended law.

Lekka villager: ‘They will suffer just as we were tortured. The debt is repayable. I will never forget.’

DMG 25 Sep 2021

The Burmese soldiers told the visitors to get out of the crowd. After I got out of the crowd, the Burmese soldiers ordered me to stay in the hot sun for two or three hours. The Burmese soldiers tortured me many times, leaving me in the hot sun. Then, they tied my hands behind my back and a Burmese soldier asked me, ‘Did you see Arakan Army (AA) fighters entering the village?’ I replied that I had never seen Arakan Army fighters, and he said that I was lying. The Burmese soldier told me not to lie.  

Talking money matters as banks shutter for a week 

DMG 18 Aug 2021

The Central Bank of Myanmar has ordered that all banks in Myanmar suspend operations from August 16-22, the latest extension of a weeks-long public holiday period as part of the military regime’s efforts to curb the spread of Covid-19. The public holidays have been announced week after week beginning in mid-July, but this week marks the first in which private banks have been included in the order.

Vox Pop: Should security checkpoint near Tatmadaw battalion in Mrauk-U be closed?

DMG 13 Aug 2021

Locals are questioning whether a security checkpoint near the 540th Infantry Battalion in Mrauk-U, which was set up during heavy fighting between the Tatmadaw and the Arakan Army in Arakan State, should be removed. Motorcyclists have to dismount at the checkpoint to undergo inspection, and locals complain that all car and van passengers have to register and provide the details of their destination, and when they will return. 

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