Monday, April 10, 2006

Burma accuses US of 'spreading poison'

Hmmm... an article in the Irish Examiner reveals that the US is "poisoning" the minds of young Burmese journalists through English for journalism courses. Tut, tut! Well, what would you expect from a course being offered at the American Center, after all it is American. Perhaps these young local reporters are being taught to think for themselves and to search out the truth. That might not be so comfortable for the powers-that-be!

Irish Examiner: Burma accuses US of 'spreading poison'
A US government centre in Burma is spreading “poison” among local reporters through its English for Journalism courses, a state-owned newspaper said today.

The Kyemon newspaper said apart from teaching journalistic ethics and writing, foreign instructors at the American Centre in Burma, known as Myanmar by its military rulers, have gathered information about the country’s education, health and social conditions from the students.

“The ‘English for Journalism’ course attended by young journalists from various Myanmar media groups is like poison, because the course is nothing but sugar-coated bitter medicine,” the newspaper wrote.

The article went on to indicate that the centre, through courses like the one on journalism, was spreading American propaganda and harming “young Myanmar brains”.

Thomas Pierce, who heads the centre, declined immediate comment since he had not read the article.

“We are working to improve journalism in Burma, working with journalists to both improve their English and reporting skill,” he said.

The centre, operated by the US Embassy in Yangon, offers educational courses, a library, films and other facilities that are open to all Burmese citizens.


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