A UN human rights chief has said Stuart Ramsay’s exclusive Sky News report on Myanmar’s hidden war is “courageous” and “shows the power of journalism”.
James Rodehaver, head of the Myanmar team at the UN Human Rights Group, said the report comes when there are ongoing “difficulties in getting information inside the country” and highlights the lack of international attention given to the situation.
The Sky News team’s report – inside the secret jungle hospital for the country’s rebel fighters – was “remarkable”, he added, but showed “how poignant” and dangerous life is for the population in Myanmar.
After watching the report, Mr Rodehaver said: “I think it’s a courageous effort. I think it shows the power of journalism.
“The power of accessing information and the real heroism that it takes to do real, solid, verifiable, investigative journalism in this environment.
“Stuart and his team and the imagery that we’ve just seen here in this remarkable story – I think it shows just how poignant and how tangible it makes the situation in the country.”
Mr Rodehaver said the “crisis in the country has been dramatically under-reported”.
He said: “I think that there are really two sides to this coin. One is that the Myanmar military has been employing a strategy of denying information not only to the people inside the country, but also outside.
“They have done that by targeting journalists and civil society groups.
“They have limited travel and they have gone overboard in terms of cutting off the access of the vast majority of people to mobile data and internet services that are secure.
“So, as a result, it’s very hard to get information from the areas where fighting is taking place and, of course, that is increasingly a very large area because of the scale of the military operations being launched against the people of Myanmar.
“The second side to this coin is, of course, the lack of political attention being played to Myanmar despite several organisations, such as my own, that are reporting constantly on the situation in the country and documenting the human rights violations occurring inside this crisis.”
Despite ongoing efforts to give the Myanmar war more exposure, Mr Rodehaver said there had been little change in international efforts to address the situation.
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He said: “No, it has not changed. We still face massive difficulties in getting information inside the country. It’s a deliberate strategy on the part of the military. They know the power of information and of images.
“The military does not want people to know just how intense the fighting is and just how dangerous it is in the country for the vast majority of civilians and the population of the country.
“That would bring concerns at a political level about the stability of the country and its potential to spill out over the region.”