The @CNN trip to Myanmar was a debacle that produced zero useful information and led to the arrest of at least 11 people whose fate remains unknown. It was a case study in how not to do ethical reporting. Here’s a THREAD about what went wrong 1/24 #WhatsHappeningInMyanmar
I should make clear at the outset that I am a white male journalist and @clarissaward is claiming that criticism of what @CNN did in Myanmar is just coming from sexist male foreigners, so if you think that’s true you can disregard my opinion and ignore this thread. 2/24
Among the most depressing things about the debacle is that CNN & @clarissaward don’t seem interested in learning from mistakes, they are in full damage limitation mode trying to silence criticism so I doubt they will learn any useful lessons about how to do better next time 3/24
Another very important thing to understand is that there are established networks of Myanmar journalists who are working tirelessly every single day to keep reporting what is happening despite extreme risks. They are the real heroes of this story. 4/24
Some of them work for the newswires, @reuters, @AP and @AFP, others work for superb Myanmar publications like @Myanmar_Now_Eng and @FrontierMM, and there are also huge numbers of brave citizen journalists taking huge risks to share essential information. 5/24
So let’s start at the beginning. How did @clarissaward get to Myanmar? CNN say they had “remarkable” and “exclusive” access to the country that nobody else could have got. Sounds pretty impressive! How did they manage it? 6/24
What they didn’t say was that this “access” was arranged by notorious Israeli-Canadian grifter Ari Ben-Manashe, a convicted arms smuggler who somehow managed to persuade the Myanmar junta to pay him $2 million to manage their international PR campaign 7/24…
According to journalists on @clarissaward’s team who tried to warn they were sleepwalking into an ethical minefield, @CNN staff were told to strike a deal with Ben-Manashe despite several warning it was a terrible idea. 8/24
It seems @CNN thought they were being really clever. They would pretend to Ben-Manashe and the Myanmar junta (who are totally clueless about dealing with international media) that they would come tell the junta’s side of the story. 9/24
In fact, of course, CNN planned to use the access to promote themselves and criticise the junta. They never did a proper risk assessment about the dangers this could cause to Myanmar citizens they interviewed, because their focus was promoting @clarissaward and @CNN 10/24
They knew they would be safe under junta protection and it never crossed their minds that Myanmar citizens they interviewed might be at risk even though any journalist with expertise about the country could have told them this has happened many times before 11/24
As they congratulated themselves on their cleverness in lying about their intentions to Ben-Manashe and the Myanmar junta, they seem to have not realised that the junta was also planning to exploit their presence, and its promises to them were worthless too. 12/24
After the CNN crew arrived, some military-owned factories burned down in the middle of the night, when no protesters would have been on the streets because of the extreme risks of being killed by the army. It was staged propaganda to feed to CNN 13/24…
Of course @clarissaward and @CNN were not stupid enough to fall for this kind of clumsy manipulation, but they don’t seem to have realised that their mere presence in Myanmar could be weaponised as junta propaganda, or that nothing they did was secret. 14/24
Despite being under constant junta supervision they tried to do vox pop interviews on the streets, an absurd decision that put many ordinary people at risk. Even when they didn’t think they were being watched, they were, as courageous citizen journalists showed 15/24
At least 11 people who spoke to @clarissaward were arrested afterwards. @CNN’s coverage about this debacle has been purely focused on exonerating themselves for their mistakes. They are now claiming (with no evidence) that at least eight have now been released. 16/24
They also claim they never approached anyone for an interview and that Myanmar citizens approached them first. This contradicts the evidence of people who were there, and even if it was true (which it’s not) saying it to defend themselves is putting these people in danger. 17/24
Here’s their story claiming “at least eight of 11 people who were detained after communicating with CNN journalists in Myanmar were released” as if this excuses their mistakes.… 18/24
So why did they go to Myanmar, knowing their every move would be monitored? Why did they talk to ordinary people when if they had done any due diligence they would have known the danger they were putting people in? Here is @clarissaward’s explanation 19/24
This justification is clearly nonsense, because Myanmar is not an information black hole that requires CNN striking a dodgy deal to shed light on what is happening. Myanmar journalists and citizens have been taking huge risks to show us what is happening, day after day. 20/24
What information was obtained by @clarissaward and the @CNN team that could possibly justify making a dodgy deal with the junta and Ari Ben-Manashe, and putting ordinary people at risk? I would argue they have given us zero new information. 21/24
Why is CNN downplaying the extraordinary courageous work being done by Myanmar journalists and citizens who are on the ground and sharing news to the world at huge risk? What has CNN told us that Myanmar journalists didn’t? Nothing. 22/24
Why is CNN surprised that the junta lied to them? They also lied to the junta about the purposes of their trip. Both sides were cluelessly trying to exploit each other. 23/24
Instead of dismissing legitimate criticism, continuing to focus on self-promotion, and trying to hype a visit that was a journalistic disaster that put lives at risk, I hope @clarissaward learns some lessons and never repeats this debacle. 🙏 24/24

• • •

Missing some Tweet in this thread? You can try to force a refresh

Keep Current with Andrew MacGregor Marshall

Andrew MacGregor Marshall Profile picture

Stay in touch and get notified when new unrolls are available from this author!

Read all threads

This Thread may be Removed Anytime!


Twitter may remove this content at anytime! Save it as PDF for later use!

Try unrolling a thread yourself!

how to unroll video
  1. Follow @ThreadReaderApp to mention us!

  2. From a Twitter thread mention us with a keyword "unroll"
@threadreaderapp unroll

Practice here first or read more on our help page!

More from @zenjournalist

4 Apr
The latest edition of my #SecretSiam newsetter is about the tragic history of refugees in Thailand. For decades, the military has violated the human rights of people seeking asylum on Thai soil. 1/8…
The latest developments on the border, with troops forcing Karen people fleeing airstrikes to go back to Myanmar, and PM Prayut and foreign ministry spokesman @SangratTanee lying about it, are typical of how successive regimes have dealt with refugees 2/8
One of the worst ever incidents was in 1979 when the Thai army forced 45,000 Cambodian refugees down a cliff and through minefields near Preah Vihear, leading to thousands of deaths. 3/8 Image
Read 8 tweets
30 Jan
Hong Kong-based journalist @FChangy is publishing a book that claims to “solve” what happened to flight #MH370. I’ve now read a review copy and far from solving the mystery it just raises some questions then proposes a bizarre conspiracy theory without convincing evidence. 1/11
Rather tastelessly, the publication is being promoted as coinciding with the 7th anniversary of the disappearance of MH370 on March 8, 2014, which should already raise red flags, because if you really solved the mystery you would not wait for an anniversary to tell everybody 2/11
On her Twitter bio, @FChangy explicitly claims she has “solved” the mystery. The book has been promoted by dubious tabloid media like @TheSun, although to their credit they at least make clear it is just an unverified theory… 3/11
Read 11 tweets
21 May 20
เมื่อสามปีกว่ามาแล้ว ในเดือนเมษายน พศ 2560 รัฐมนตรีว่าการกระทรวงดิจิทัลเพื่อเศรษฐกิจและสังคม ได้ออกประกาศไม่ให้ชาวไทยติดต่อทางออนไลน์กับผม, สมศักดิ์ เจียมธีรสกุล, หรือ ปวิณ ชัชวาลพงศ์พันธ์ 1/5
ทั้งๆที่ไม่มีหลักการอะไรทางกฎหมายมารองรับการสั่งห้ามนั้น แล้วมันก็เกิดผลตรงข้าม กลับส่งเสริมให้คนมาติดตามพวกเรามากขึ้นไปอีก 2/5 Image
จุลเจิม ยุคล พวกเจ้าสุดขั้วของราชวงศ์ไทยคนหนึ่ง ได้เอาประกาศนั้นมาเผยแพร่อีกครั้ง แถมยังพล่ามว่าด่ากระทบคนไทยรุ่นหนุ่มสาว ว่ามีความอกตัญญูไม่รู้คุณของสถาบันกษัตริย์ 3/5 Image
Read 5 tweets
20 May 20
EXCLUSIVE—Why does King Vajiralongkorn have a 100-million-baht Boeing 737 with a fake registration parked in the middle of Bangkok? A detective story... 1/17
A few days ago, Somsak Jeamteerasakul shared Google Earth images showing a large aircraft with Thai Airways colours parked in the grounds of Ampornstan Palace in Bangkok. Photographs of the plane, plus a picture of it arriving at Ampornstan Palace by road, have now emerged. 2/17
The photographs show a Boeing 737-400 with the registration HS-TDK.

But why does he have it in his garden at Ampornstan Palace? I have been doing some investigation. 3/17
Read 17 tweets
19 May 20
ด้วยความที่เด็กนักเรียนไทยต้องหันมาเรียนออนไลน์จากวิกฤตโควิด-19 ชาวโลกมากขึ้นจึงมีโอกาสได้เห็นความเป็นจริงอันน่าอนาถของการเรียนสอนในประเทศไทย 1/5
บทเรียนออนไลน์ส่วนมากที่สุดสำหรับนักเรียนชั้นประถมศึกษา เน้นการโฆษณาชวนเชื่อให้รักเจ้า มีน้อยมากที่จะสอนกันจริงๆจังเกี่ยวกับการอ่านหรือคณิตศาสตร์ 2/5 ImageImageImageImage
ตอนนี้ มีบทเรียนภาษาอังกฤษออนไลน์ชิ้นหนึ่ง ที่โดนยำกันสนุกปากเป็นที่แพร่หลาย เนื่องจากครูผู้สอนไม่รู้ภาษาอังกฤษพอที่จะพูดให้รู้เรื่องได้ 3/5
Read 5 tweets
19 May 20
With school pupils in Thailand having to study online due to the covid-19 crisis, more people around the world can now see the tragic reality of Thai education. 1/4
The vast majority of online lessons for primary school children are just royalist propaganda. Very few online lessons teach crucial literacy and numeracy skills. 2/4 ImageImageImageImage
Meanwhile, an English lesson has been widely mocked because of the teacher's inability to speak English.… 3/4
Read 4 tweets

Did Thread Reader help you today?

Support us! We are indie developers!

This site is made by just two indie developers on a laptop doing marketing, support and development! Read more about the story.

Become a Premium Member ($3/month or $30/year) and get exclusive features!

Become Premium

Too expensive? Make a small donation by buying us coffee ($5) or help with server cost ($10)

Donate via Paypal Become our Patreon

Thank you for your support!

Follow Us on Twitter!