WASHINGTON – Radio Free Asia (RFA) aired its last original TV broadcast on the Democratic Voice of Burma (DVB) network on Myanmar’s MRTV channel this evening. The Myanmar government told DVB that it could not carry RFA’s programming if the word “Rohingya” continued to be used. As a policy, RFA does not accept interference by outside individuals, groups, or governments in making editorial decisions. RFA’s Burmese Service’s TV programming was available on the network since October 2017. RFA content and programming will continue to be available for its audience in Myanmar on shortwave radio, social media (YouTube/ Facebook) and RFA Burmese’s website. RFA’s President Libby Liu said:
“Radio Free Asia will not compromise its code of journalistic ethics, which prohibits the use of slurs against ethnic minority groups. RFA will continue to refer to the Rohingya as the ‘Rohingya’ in our reports. Use of other terms, even those that fall short of being derogatory, would be inaccurate and disingenuous to both our product and our audience.
“By forbidding the use of the word ‘Rohingya,’ Myanmar’s government is taking an Orwellian step in seeking to erase the identity of a people whose existence it would like to deny. RFA will continue to provide audiences in Myanmar with access to trustworthy, reliable journalism, particularly when reporting on issues that local and state-controlled media ignores and suppresses.”