ISSN 2330-717X

South East Asia’s Media Outlets Can Play Significant Role In Solving Rohingya Refugee Crisis – OpEd

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We know that media outlets have a strong role in solving any crisis in the world. The print media, social media and electronic media can do much. South East Asia’s media outlets can also play a strong role in solving a serious crisis in South East Asia and South Asia. South East Asia’s media outlets such as the Strait Times, CNA, Business Times of Singapore, Malaysia’s New Strait Times, Malay Mail Online, The Sun Daily, The Star, Indonesia’s The Jakarta Post, Brunei’s Brunei Bulletin, Philippine Daily Inquirer, Daily Tribune, Thailand’s Bangkok Post, the Nation Thailand, Cambodia’s Phnom Penh Post,  Vientiane Times of Lao PDR, Vietnam News of Vietnam are some widely circulated English-language newspapers in Whole South East Asia, East Asia even South Asia (The online version of these media outlets). I mention some media outlets in my article symbolically. But all media outlets including the above-mentioned outlets can play the role.   

The print version of these newspapers is also widely circulated in South East Asia. These are also widely known in India, Bangladesh to Myanmar, Indonesia even Australia. These media outlets are very popular in Whole South East Asia. According to their media outlets in South East Asia, mass people, businessmen, policy makers and decision makers read the news publication regularly. Their nice story, excellent updated news coverage, hard-hitting insightful editorials and opinions are keenly followed by the government, policymakers, members of Security agencies, lawmakers, diplomats, army personnel, Professors and business people alike.

For example, as a Bangladeshi reader, if I want to know the updates on South East Asia, I open the website of these media outlets, The Sun, the Star, Strait Times and New Straight Times, Bangkok Post, The Jakarta Post have sufficient impact to readers. The weight of these newspaper is huge in South Asia and South East Asia.

The above-mentioned media outlets keep updated us time to time.  Published news, articles, features in these news websites help us to understand the current situation of Whole South East Asia even South Asia and East Asia. As a reader friendly and trusted news publication, the media outlets of South East Asia can play a very important role in resolving some regional problems such as Rohingya refugee crisis, Illegal drug trade, human trafficking, terrorism issue. They can create public opinion regarding the problems to pressurize policy makers to solve the crisis. They can publish some pertinent news, reports, articles related Rohingya refugees. These media outlets have been publishing many write ups regarding Rohingya crisis and its solution. Their writings can impact the whole South East Asian leaders including own country’s leaders to think about the reality of the regional crisis.

Above all, the conscious people of Myanmar, members of its military, government stuff even high level policy makers are well known about these news publications site. If the media outlets in South East Asia want to draw the attention of ASEAN leaders regarding Rohingya issue, they can easily do. One-day, this will make Myanmar understand the consequences of the problem.

 ASEAN should have a very significant role in ASEAN. As an active common regional platform, ASEAN can play a very significant role in solving Rohingya refugee crisis. 

Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has sought the global community’s enhanced focus and active support to find a durable solution to the Rohingya crisis. She was addressing the 76th UN General Assembly (UNGA) on Friday night. 

She said the Rohingya crisis was passing its fifth year now but “yet not a single forcibly displaced Myanmar national could be repatriated — I would like to reiterate that the crisis was created in Myanmar and its solution lies in Myanmar”. “Myanmar must create the conditions conducive for their return,” Sheikh Hasina said. 

But she added “International community must work constructively for a permanent solution of the crisis through safe, sustainable, and dignified return of the Rohingyas to their home in the Rakhine State”. The premier particularly expected the ASEAN leadership to step up their ongoing efforts alongside the rest of the international community to support all the accountability processes. 

She said her government recently relocated some Rohingyas to an offshore island of Bhashan Char “on our part, to ensure their temporary stay in Bangladesh”. The premier said despite vaccine constraints the Rohingyas were incorporated under Bangladesh’s inoculation campaign to stop spread of COVID-19 in their camps.

The premier particularly expected the ASEAN leadership to step up their ongoing efforts alongside the rest of the international community to support all the accountability processes. 

PM Sheikh Hasina has focused on ASEAN in this regard. ASEAN Leaders can solve the problem easily. They can make Myanmar to understand regarding taking back the Rohingyas in Rakhine region. They could persuade Myanmar to take back the Rohingya in the Rakhine region. South East Asia’s media outlets can play a strong role in this regard. They can use their writings weapons towards the ASEAN leader. Media outlets can influence the ASEAN leaders. These media outlets can publish the editorials and opinions to influence the south East Asian leaders.

South East Asia’s all media outlets including The Strait Times, New Strait Times, Star, Sun, Jakarta Post, Bangkok Post, Irrawaddy, Brunei Bulletin etc., can play a strong role to make public opinion to influence the policy makers of Cambodia for resolving Rohingya refugee’s crisis.

These media outlets are widely circulated English-language newspaper in the whole South East Asia. policy makers and decision makers read the news publication regularly. 

These media outlets can play a very important role in resolving Rohingya refugee crisis. They can publish some pertinent news, reports, articles related Rohingya refugees. They have been publishing many write ups regarding Rohingya crisis and its solution. Their writings can impact the whole South East Asian leaders including Cambodia leaders to think about actual reality (regional threat) in the region.

In this regard, these reputed news agencies can and should play a very significant role to solve the crisis such ways:

  1. They can publish all kinds of news, reports and editorials articles regarding Rohingya refugee crisis to make public opinion to pressurize the policy makers in solving Rohingya refugee crisis.
  2. They can publish satire. The Strait Times, New Strait Times, Star, Sun, Jakarta Post, Bangkok Post, Irrawaddy, Brunei Bulletin etc.  can also start to publish poll opinion.
  3. They can influence the all-religious groups specially Buddhist society, others ethnic groups by publishing their nice write up.

However, these media outlets are very fine and excellent newspapers in South East Asia. The accuracy, credibility and acceptability of publications in these news agencies are very high. So, they should create public opinion in favor of Rohingya crisis repatriation to Myanmar on humanitarian ground. 

The government of Myanmar, its decision makers and people are well known about the above-mentioned media outlets. Thus, it very easy for them to influence the policy makers and people of Myanmar to some extent the decision makers and leaders of whole South Asian countries.

South East Asia’s media outlets including The Strait Times, New Strait Times, Star, Sun, Jakarta Post, Bangkok Post, Philippines Daily Inquirer, Brunei Bulletin etc., have already circulated many news on Rohingyas to build public opinion. Such types of News were such as:

  • Rohingya crisis is as much the international community’s problem as Bangladesh’s (August 05, 2021, The Strait Times)
  • Bangladesh cannot deal with the Rohingya crisis alone. (August 08, The Star)
  • UN must bring an end to Rohingya genocide. (September 20, 2020, The New Strait Times)
  • Why Myanmar should bolster ties with Bangladesh. (September 09, 2021, The Sun)
  • Asean must help Rohingya. (October 23, 2020, The Bangkok Post) 
  • In seeking solutions to Rohingya crisis, ASEAN must learn from past mistakes. (November 14, 2018, The Jakarta Post)
  • Myanmar Doesn’t Want to Repatriate Rohingya, Bangladeshi PM Says (June 10, 2019, The Irrawaddy)
  • The Rohingya crisis: Asean, don’t look away. (November 13, 2019, The Philippine Daily Inquirer) 

As a Bangladeshi, we always appreciate the role of the above-mentioned media outlets regarding ‘Media Coverage of Rohingya Refugee crisis in South East Asia. We hope, these media outlets will continue it. One day, policymakers in this region will understand this. The Rohingya refugee crisis would be solved one day and the whole region will be stable.  We think that the role of these media outlets is very positive in this regard. They are on the right Track. So, The Strait Times, New Strait Times, Star, Sun, Jakarta Post, Bangkok Post, Irrawaddy, Brunei Bulletin etc.  are Playing a very significant role in Whole South East Asia to create positive public opinion in this regard. We, Bangladeshi citizens hope and appreciate the significant role of The Strait Times, New Strait Times, Star, Sun, Jakarta Post, Bangkok Post, Irrawaddy, Brunei Bulletin etc. 

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Pathik Hasan

Pathik Hasan is a Dhaka-based NGO activist, researcher and freelance writer on contemporary international issues whose work has been published in many local and international publications. Academic background: BSS (Peace and Conflict Studies) and MSS (International Relations) under the University of Dhaka. He can be reached at [email protected]

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