By Ahunt Phone Myat
Burma’s information minister Kyan Hsan was forced to leave a government press conference today after refusing to answer questions pitched by journalists which he said made him “emotional”.
Kyan Hsan, who effectively acts as Naypyidaw’s spokesperson, had led the first press conference of the new government in the capital this afternoon.
But he reportedly broke down in tears after being asked when the government would begin dialogue over the multiple conflicts raging in Burma’s border regions and issues regarding the woeful state of the country’s economy. The meeting was then suspended for several minutes.
“He began to have tears in his eyes and cried as he was answering questions [from a reporter] about how [the government’s] worked for the good of their country,” a source at the conference told DVB today.
A secret audio file obtained by DVB quoted Kyaw Hsan as saying, upon his return to the meeting, that “it [the breakdown] happened as I was speaking.
“I would like to tell [the journalists present] to keep this private as the media may think I did this because I didn’t want or wasn’t able to answer the questions. I want to tell you to understand me for feeling emotional as I was giving my answer.”
The 40-minute long conference featured questions from more than 10 journalists. It follows the recent formation of the Spokespersons and Information Team, led by Kyaw Hsan, which effectively acts as a public relations arm of the new government.
Thein Sein’s administration has gone on something of a media offensive as it has struggled to shed its reputation as a civilian extension of the military junta that ruled Burma in various guises since 1962.
Although it released opposition icon Aung San Suu Kyi shortly after the November 2010 elections and appears to be opening up somewhat towards the political opposition, critics claim that the escalation of civil wars in the border regions and continued human rights abuses show that little reform has taken place.