Myanmar posts mislead with purported list of military supporters
Facebook posts circulating in Myanmar purport to show a screenshot from state television listing the names of supporters of the military. The posts circulated online after the military seized power in a coup in February 2021. The claim in the posts is false: the screenshot was taken from a 2019 travel documentary and the names listed are people who helped with the production.
The photo was posted here on Facebook on May 16, 2021. It has been shared more than 7,000 times.
The caption claims the photo shows a list of supporters of the Myanmar military.
Myanmar's junta seized power in a coup on February 1, 2021.
“MRTV lists spies from Mindat,” the caption reads.
Mindat is a town in Myanmar's western Chin state where deadly clashes between the military and an anti-junta defence force have likely displaced thousands of civilians, the United Nations said.
The television screenshot in the Facebook post reads in part: “Thanks to U Soe Lwin, head of general administrative office of Mindat district, southern Chin state, officials from Win Unity Hotel Group, Ko Nyi Htwe Maung, and Naing Tun, local guides, Ashin Damma Wunsa from the Baho Kyaung monastery, and etc.”
The posts prompted angry responses from some Facebook users.
“Please stab them,” on Facebook user wrote, referring to the purported military supporters.
“Okay, it's your turn. When your turn comes, brace yourself to die,” another commented.
The claim, however, is misleading. The screenshot was taken from a travel documentary that first aired in 2019, more than a year before the military coup.
Keyword searches found the earliest version of the footage posted on November 3, 2019. It was shared on YouTube channel MY Travelogue.
The screenshot circulating in Facebook posts can be seen from the 10-minute 22-second mark.
The YouTube video’s title reads: “MY Travelogue (Road to Southern Chin State 13)”.
According to MY Travelogue's YouTube channel, the programme is part of a travel documentary exploring Myanmar's southern Chin state.
Win Unity Hotel Group, which is listed in the screenshot, shared a different episode of the documentary here on June 2, 2019 on Facebook.
A local resident whose name appears in the screenshot circulating online posted on Facebook that he assisted MRTV crews several years before the February coup.
“I was Damma Wunsa [a monkhood name] mentioned in the acknowledgement. In 2015 or 2016, I helped the MRTV crew when they visited the Baho Kyaung monastery where I used to live,” he posted on May 16, 2021.
“I gave up the monkhood in 2020 and returned to my village. I have lost contact with MRTV since then.”