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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 Thursday accused VOA and the British Broadcasting Corporation of concocting fabricated news about events in Burma.

A warning to viewers during the broadcast said they should 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 broadcasters mentioned them for the first time this week.

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

Burmese television said the tone of foreign news reports heard in Rangoon indicated 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 "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.