- Ross Burley
Myanmar Witness: Pamphlets used for propaganda, misinformation, intimidation & division
CIR's Myanmar Witness team has documented and investigated trends in the dissemination of pamphlets containing misleading or unverified information, pro-regime propaganda, intimidating and religiously biassed messaging, and graphic imagery.
Download the full report below.
Through this investigation Myanmar Witness has found that, since April 2021, pamphlets of this kind have been disseminated in areas of previous protest such as Yangon (ရန်ကုန်), as well as the northern regions of the country, including Kachin State (ကချင်ပြည်နယ်). In November, the dissemination of pamphlets appears to have shifted, with distribution concentrated in Sagaing (စစ်ကိုင်းတိ), Magway (မကွေးမြို့) and Chin (ချင်းပြည်နယ်) - areas where conflict between local defence groups and the military was reportedly increasing in frequency.
Investigators at Myanmar Witness have analysed the language used within the pamphlets, their aesthetic appearances, the use of imagery, and the methods of distribution. While Myanmar Witness cannot officially verify the source of these pamphlets, this investigation suggests that many of the pamphlets originated from the same source. Additionally, this investigation has highlighted a worrying trend that pamphlets are being used to terrorise, intimidate, suppress and divide populations.
Through this research, Myanmar Witness has identified a worrying trend: pamphlets have been disseminated with 'warnings' to the public, either threatening potential attacks, or legal action against those involved in anti-regime activities, such as the Silent Strike.
At the time of reporting, Myanmar Witness is aware of one location where such a warning was reported and which has subsequently, allegedly, been subjected to attacks. These attacks came one month after the pamphlets reportedly appeared in the village. However, Myanmar Witness cannot confirm that this attack was linked to the pamphlets disseminated.
[Warning: Graphic] has been inserted ahead of links to sources which show graphic and distressing images of injured or dead persons.