The Fake Images of the Conflict in Myanmar

by Hannah on September 5, 2017 - 10:54pm

As of September 5th, 2017, the most recent fighting in Myanmar took place in the state of Rakhine, leaving approximately 400 dead and forced 40,000 Rohingya Muslims to flee their homes for Bangladesh, reports Rebecca Ratcliffe in The Guardian. Caused by a vast military response to rebel attacks on Myanmar security forces, the conflict has seen both sides claiming that their opponents have committed atrocities: Refugees arriving in Bangladesh maintain that their villages had been attacked and ultimately burned down by government troops, while the government and residents report that insurgents had burned down their own homes and  murdered Hindus and Buddhists.


Amidst these allegations, social media is abuzz with fake news on the subject. Notably, images are being shared that either misrepresent the situation or are of an entirely different conflict, from either different times or places, if not both. Unfortunately, when an incorrect image is associated with real information, it draws the truth into question. In fact, there are already accusations on Twitter that the Rohingya people are not actually suffering as a result of human rights violations. This means that human rights groups not only have to unearth the facts, but then struggle to maintain their credibility, which draws resources away from where they are so desperately needed.


Verifying sources is an important task for the reader, not just for their own sake, but for the sake of the people trying to transmit the truth as quickly and efficiently as possible to their readership. I personally believe the source of my article to be reliable. The Guardian has a reputation to uphold and has had few major controversies. The few which occurred were in relation to falsely attributed Julian Assange comments and a factually incorrect article about WhatsApp’s purported “backdoor”. In addition, according to the Media Bias/ Fact Check website, this news outlet rates high on factual reporting, though it does report some left-center bias. The author of the article, Rebecca Ratcliffe, is noted as a freelance writer and newsdesk assistant at the Observer on The Guardian’s website, as well as boasting approximately 527 articles published on the site, of which the more recent ones focus mainly on international disasters.  Her LinkedIn page also states that she has a Bachelor’s in English from Oxford and a Master’s in Interactive Journalism from City University (GB), which lends her credibility.


Works cited


Greenwald, Glenn. “The Guardian’s Summary of Julian Assange’s Interview Went Viral

and Was Completely False.” The Intercept_. 29 December 2016, 8:41 a.m., .


Lomas, Natasha. “Security researchers call for Guardian to retract false WhatsApp

“backdoor” story.”  TechCrunch. 20 January 2017, .


Media Bias/Fact Check. "The Guardian." Media Bias/Fact Check. .


Ratcliffe, Rebecca. “Fake news images add fuel to fire in Myanmar, after more than 400

deaths.” The Guardian. 5 September 2017, 8:42 a.m. BST, .


---. “Rebecca Ratcliffe.” LinkedIn. .



The Guardian. “Rebecca Ratcliffe.” The Guardian.




You brought attention to not only the problem of fake images, but also to the situation in Myanmar. I heard a bit of it, but I didn’t think it was that bad. As I dug a bit more into it, I found this article by Kevin Ponniah called “Who will help Myanmar’s Rohingya?”, which was publish on BBC News January 10, 2017. I think it can help anyone who wants to learn more about the situation. It helped me understand how much this problem was ignored internationally and internally. It also gave me a deeper explanation of the conflict, as I didn’t understand well the first time I read. Maybe your goal wasn’t to cover the crisis in Rakhine, but this article could’ve helped you explain it a bit more clearly. I also did some research to be sure that this article was reliable. First, I believe BBC News is a trustworthy media source, because on the Media Bias website, it says that their factual reporting is very high. Second, the reporter has a Master of Science in International Relations, with a course on International Politics in the Asia-Pacific. This information found on his LinkedIn page shows us that he has the competencies to cover this region of the globe. Well, this is a pretty long comment, but I think your article was inspiring. I like your style and you should continue that way. I’ll leave my sources under this block of text so you can check them out.

“Who will help Myanmar’s Rohingya?”:
Media Bias/Fact Check:
Kevin Ponniah LinkedIn profile page:

About the author

Hi, my name is Hannah. First off, I'm very interested in the arts, music and filmmaking, and my skills include speaking 3 languages (English, French and intermediary Spanish), playing the cello and painting.