Human rights groups fear military has disappeared or killed undercover journalists to starve the world of news about persecution in Rakhine state
Reporters working inside Myanmars Rakhine state to document atrocities against Rohingya have gone missing, raising fears that they have been deliberately targeted by the military.
Young Rohingya volunteers had been secretly reporting on persecution of the Muslim minority in Myanmar since 2012, sending photos, videos and audio clips out of the country using smartphones.
Human rights groups claim the Myanmar military have killed and abducted many of the reporters to sabotage the networks and that there is now very little reporting on what is happening in the closed state of Rakhine.
Rohingya refugee Mohammad Rafique, who edits the Rohingya community news portal The Stateless, said that over 95% of Rakhines mobile reporters had gone missing since the crackdown began.
Burmese security forces and Rakhine militia are still committing rapes, killings and arson in the Rohingya villages. But [as] the Rohingya mobile reporter network [is] dysfunctional there now, the detailed information of the violence, which we need to produce credible media reports, is not reaching us, Rafique said.
International media reporters and human rights activists too gather persecution and violence-related information from the Rohingya mobile network. They all, including our communitys media outlets, are being starved of information from Rakhine now.
When riots broke out between Buddhists and Rohingya in Rakhine in 2012, the authorities deployed the military, with allegations surfacing that the army committed human rights abuses in the Rohingya villages. With silence from the Myanmar media on the violence, Rohingya community leaders set up the network of undercover citizen reporters, who began documenting incidents and sending reports out of the country, mostly for use by Rohingya media outlets.