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Rohingyas spread online propaganda

Using online TVs from Malaysia and Saudi Arab


Published : 05 Sep 2019 10:38 PM | Updated : 01 Sep 2020 11:24 AM

Rohingyas are massively spreading propaganda and radical publications using online televisions from different Rohingya camps in home (Cox’s Bazar) and abroad. The intelligence sources told Bangladesh Post that most of these ‘propaganda’ online tv and facebook pages and groups are operated from Malaysia and Saudi Arabia where huge funds are used to continue such anti-state propaganda to spread misleading information. Intelligence agencies warned the government high ups about the Rohingya operated online televisions and suggested to take effective measures to block further spreading of propaganda.

This correspondent also found evidence of such Rohingya Online TV programmes spreading propaganda in different social media networking sites in different languages. Using a Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/RohingyaTelevision/) a Rohingya TV on Tuesday tried to spread a rumor by uploading a post about internet service in the areas would remain shut for thirty hours.

The information was completely wrong as the internet connection in the Rohingya camps was found to be in full operation. The internet speed, however, was said to have been slowed down only. That online TV also claimed that if Rohingyas do not move to Bhashan Char willingly, they will be shifted there by force, which is also a misleading information.

The Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen on September 3 said that the government will never force Rohingyas to go and temporarily settle in Bhashan Char from Cox’s Bazar. While interacting with the executive committee members of the Diplomatic Correspondents Association, Bangladesh (DCAB) at his office in the capital Dhaka on Tuesday the minister said, "Our general principle is not to force in any issues (to Rohingyas).” ‘Rohingya TV–Official’, a closed Facebook group was formed on March 16 this year. In its description section, the closed group of Rohingya community said, “We started our journey to spread the news and reports on the oppressed Rohingya Community of Arakan through websites and social media.” This group is being coordinated by one Sadman Sakil, a student of Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) of Malaysia. He was born in Maungdaw of Rakhine State in Burma, sources said.

He is also involved with another Rohingya websites named ‘Arakanbooks.com’.  The chief operating officer of the website however is one Ibn Atiq. They are reportedly linked with Rohingya Solidarity Organisation (RSO). RSO is formerly a militant organization. But have been militarily defunct since their armed branch merged with the Rohingya National Army (RNA) in 1998. Another admin of the ‘Rohingya TV’ is Sahil Abrar. However, this correspondent could not gather any detail information about this admin of the close group.

In the official website of Rohingya TV whose url is https://rohingyatv.net/, also publishes provocative articles. Another leading Rohingya TVs is ‘Rohingya Vision’. There are 175,000 followers of these online TV. One Eliyas Jan, is operating another online TV named, ‘Rohingya News TV, operated from Saudi Arab. He has 10,817 personal followers while his ‘Rohingya News Tv’ has another 65,000 followers. The Rohingya Television has also huge fans and subscribers.

‘Rohingya News Agency – RNA’ is followed by more than 24,634 followers. A local phone number (01846266997) has been provided with the online TV. Rohingya Daily News Tv is followed by 19,631. A foreign phone number (+60 11-6171 9961) has been added with to their website. ‘Rohingya Today’ is followed by 72,250 people. As part of the precautionary measure, Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) is taking measures so that Rohingyas cannot broadcast programmes using online TVs.

Rohingyas are sometimes giving a post in native Bengali language, sometimes in Myanmar language and sometimes in Arakanese presumably. Immediately after the posts are published online TVs, Rohingyas make the post viral within few moments. They also give provocative comments on the post. Thus, confusions are increasing among the displaced Rohingyas citizens.

Getting intelligence reports, local administrations are seriously looking into the matter. The broadcasters are spreading these posts globally, using Facebook pages and online TVs. Security officials gathering intelligence information warns that if these network are not blocked, the anti-state conspiracy may continue to be spread in a much wider scale.

According to the intelligence sources, among 11 lakh Rohingya nationals, there at least 5 lakh ‘targeted’ viewers of the online TV programmes.  Smart mobile phone sets are used to view these online TV programmes. From the Rohingyas camps, these online TV programmes are being broadcasted twenty four hours a day. Besides, Rohingyas have some closed Facebook groups and secrete messenger groups to spread propaganda materials abroad. 

Every posts are also translated in different languages. They are doing these online propagandas by huge numbers using highly skilled people. Talking to the Bangladesh , Cox's Bazar Superintendent of Police (SP) ABM Masud Hossain also admitted that some Rohingyas are spreading propaganda using online tv programmes. He said, “We have already sent some proposals to the Home Ministry through Police Headquarters to block the online tv websites.” Asked about the feedback of his proposal against propaganda activities of Rohingyas, he said, “Following his proposal, BTRC has already taken some steps. More steps are going to be implemented.” Replying to a question, he said, “It is very tough to block these propaganda activities operated by these online TVs. There are huge numbers of Rohingyas in the camps. Most of the Rohingyas are using YouTube channels using smart phone.”