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Burmese TV Blames Protests on Western Broadcasters


Burmese television says foreign instigators are responsible for wide-ranging protests in the southeast Asian country.

An English-language television broadcast by the military government accused VOA and the British Broadcasting Corporation Thursday of concocting fabricated news about events in Burma.

Burmese viewers were warned to beware of "destructionist" international broadcasts.

A caption displayed on the screen said: "VOA and BBC, sky-full of liars."

Pro-democracy protests have been under way in Burma for a month, but state-controlled networks there mentioned them for the first time this week.

In Washington, the U.S. government agency that supervises the Voice of America and Radio Free Asia says it has doubled Burmese-language broadcasts.

The Burmese authorities' version of events Thursday (as broadcast by MRTV-3) said "some monks, opposition organizations and disruptive elements" had staged protest marches. It said the protests were "due to instigation of external and internal disruptionists and some foreign radio stations."

Burmese television says the tone of foreign news reports heard in Rangoon indicates that international news organizations are "not happy with peace, stability and development of the [Burmese] nation."

The (U.S.) Broadcasting Board of Governors announced the expansion of Burmese-language broadcasts this week.

The BBG chairman, James Glassman, says the radios' airtime was increased because ( - in his words - ) "the Burmese people are starving for accurate information, both about the world's reaction to their struggle for democracy, and also about what is happening in their own land."

VOA is now airing programs in Burmese for three hours daily (up from 90 minutes) and RFA's Burmese-language broadcasts have been increased (from two hours) to four hours daily.

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