2018-01-31 21:58:07 -


Put the needs of Myanmar’s Rohingya first

Over 626,000 Rohingya people have crossed into Bangladesh from Myanmar since early August 2017. These people are fleeing violence in Rakhine State, where security forces are “clearing out terrorists”. The majority of the Rohingya are Muslims but they are not recognised as citizens in Myanmar and are therefore considered a ‘stateless’ people. 


This is the third major movement of Rohingya into Bangladesh as a result of violence. The first happened in the mid 1970s; the second in 1992 when I was in Cox’s Bazar at the time to witness these terrified people seeking refuge in Bangladesh. The third major movement is the current crisis which has escalated since last August.


On each of the previous occasions of movement of the Rohingya, they were encouraged to return to Myanmar – which many of them did, only for them or their children to have to flee again. The governments of Bangladesh and Myanmar have already agreed that the Rohingya should return to Myanmar on a ‘voluntary’ basis, as reported on 23 November. However, until their citizenship is recognised and the systematic discrimination stops, there is little point in them returning to Myanmar.


Plan International is calling on the international community to prioritise the needs of vulnerable Rohingya children arriving in Bangladesh. Adolescent girls in particular must be protected, as they are one of the groups most at-risk of gender-based violence within the camps.

Paul O’Brien

CEO, Plan International Ireland

Irish media putting profit before people?

We are getting dangerously close to the point of a total media monopoly. Media ownership in this country is now extremely concentrated which is very unhealthy. 


Democracy must exist within the media, just as it would in a healthy democracy. But unfortunately it is not to be found in many quarters of the media.


The merging of various newspaper groups must not be encouraged, and must be stopped if at all possible by merger and monopoly legislation. Radio and television are also being taken over by media moguls, which means there is no demarcation between various genres of the media — so what is left is stifling and standardised.


The idea that one media mogul owns two of the country’s national daily newspapers, the Irish Examiner and The Irish Times, is ridiculous and contrary to the notion of a ‘free press’.


There is no doubt that ownership can change editorial policies, with groups of newspapers all beginning to carry the same stories and opinions. However, people are not fools. They are not going to buy the same run-of-the-mill coverage.


There seems to be a lot of very greedy behaviour going on. Mergers and acquisitions are everywhere in the media. Somebody is always buying out somebody else, furthering the case for the media to be no longer zero-rated for tax.


Only a handful of newspapers exist in the country which are completely independent, and they are being squeezed and tempted to part with their operations more and more. It’s very insidious.


Society and politics will not benefit from a stereotyped media era of monopoly power. It is a very sad fact that journalism is now putting profit before people — shame, shame, shame.

Maurice Fitzgerald

Shanbally, Co Cork


Other Letters News
Most Read
Most Commented