False news made its way across Myanmar recently, as the state-owned newspaper, The New Light of Myanmar, was forced to issue an official and public apology for misleading its many readers by using a picture of a motorcycle crash and claiming it to be the result of mines.
The picture was of a motorcycle that the article claimed was destroyed by a mine. The initial article stated that this incident took the life of one person and left two injured. Not only was the article false, the picture was also used by the same newspaper a month ago for an article on the collision of a motorcycle and aircraft near Heho, and was merely cropped for this new story.
The newspaper’s response was that they issued the story after obtaining the information from government officials and that the picture was simply an honest mistake. The government, however, issued a press release through the Ministry of Defense, claiming that it was the newspaper that clearly printed false news and, thus, misled readers.
The day the story was issued, Myanmar Times, as well as other international newspapers, quickly responded to the fabrication of the news and claimed that it was a bad example of the new idea of free press that the government is trying to put into place.
If false information is delivered through state-owned media, it may be difficult for the public to recognize what is true and what is false.