Myanmar’s ‘Rohingya’ vs ‘Bengali’ Hate Speech Debate

Rohingya activists have accused the Myanmar Press Council, a quasi-government media adjudication and ethics body,  of defending the practice of using the word “Bengali” to refer to the Rohingya. Rights groups and Rohingya advocates argue that the term amounts to “hate speech” and that it is directly linked to misinformation, “fake news,” and vilification campaigns against the Rohingya actively promoted by the  government, the military and others. 

Myanmar’s internet and social media landscape has come under increasing scrutiny after a Reuters investigation found over a thousand examples of hate speech attacking the Rohingya and Muslims of Myanmar. Following a UN report’s conclusion that the army had carried out mass killings and gang rapes of Rohingya “with genocidal intent,” a number of social media platforms, including Twitter,  Facebook, and Instagram, banned the accounts of Min Aung Hlaing, Myanmar’s army chief, and others in an unprecedented move to control hate speech.

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Shafiur Rahman