Year: 2020 | Month: December | Volume 8 | Issue 2

Myanmar – Misrepresenting a Development Problem as a Religious Conflict

Kalinga Seneviratne


In recent years, before the February 2021 coup in Myanmar, the international media narrative on Myanmar has been focused on the “Rohingya” issue presenting it as a case of a helpless Muslim minority being repressed by a powerful Buddhist majority. A so-called religious conflict has been overplayed, and the socio-economic conditions and development issues that have given rise to this conflict are being ignored. Myanmar’s attempted transition to democracy was hamstrung by a development dilemma that did not include merely minorities, but a major section of the rural Buddhist majority. This paper discusses the socio-economics of the Rohingya issue, and how geopolitical issues contribute to the conflict. The paper argues that a new mindful communication strategy is needed to report Myanmar’s development problems in a more balanced fashion.

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