Junta Watch

Junta Watch: Regime Rips Off Music for Thingyan; Dictator Celebrates Birthday of Channel No One Watches; and More 

By The Irrawaddy 8 April 2023

Junta to use copyrighted music for free during Thingyan 

With Myanmar welcoming its traditional New Year next week, the regime is busy organizing forced Thingyan celebrations in the hope of faking a return to normalcy. But while it has spent millions on Thingyan parties planned for towns around the country, it is not handing a single kyat to the copyright owners of songs to be sung at its New Year pavilions.

It’s being brazen about it too, asking copyright owners to give permission to use their songs for free. The junta-controlled Information Ministry, which is responsible for copyright protection, has been making what it calls “a request” daily through its media. And to add insult to injury, the ministry uses that same request to thank copyright owners for giving permission to use the songs.

So, what are the poor copyright owners to do? In short, nothing, as they have no option but to keep silent about a request that comes through the barrel of a gun.


Min Aung Hlaing proves he’s out of touch with reality

Min Aung Hlaing takes up a pen to mark the birthday of military propaganda channel Myawaddy TV. / Cincds

Junta chief Min Aung Hlaing praised regime mouthpiece Myawaddy TV for building bridges between the Myanmar military and the people on the occasion of the television station’s 28th anniversary on Wednesday. In reality, even military personnel avoid watching the channel, never mind the Myanmar people.

Established in 1995, Myawaddy TV is tasked with airing propaganda blended with entertainment campaigns. But it has never won popularity with the people, and is nothing more than a tool to spread propaganda within the military.

The broadcaster’s notoriety grew after the coup, as Myanmar people inflicted social punishment on artists who took part in Myawaddy’s programs. However, military sources say soldiers in cantonments nationwide are being forced to watch Myawaddy TV.


From Russia, with love

The Russian Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Oriental Studies confers an honorary doctorate on junta boss Min Aung Hlaing on Monday. / Cincds

In what can only be seen as a gesture of affection between two pariah nations, the Institute of Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences on Monday conferred an honorary doctorate on junta boss Min Aung Hlaing.

Turning a blind eye to all the frequent atrocities and grave human rights violations perpetrated by the junta against its own people, the president of the Institute of Oriental Studies praised Min Aung Hlaing for bringing justice and development to Myanmar.

“Under the leadership of the Senior General, political transparency based on national unity, development of socioeconomic life, and justice is seen vividly in Myanmar,” the junta-controlled English newspaper The Global New Light of Myanmar, quoted the Oriental Studies Institute president as saying.

“The Institute of Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences unanimously decided to confer the honorary doctorate on the Senior General,” said the president, who then sought approval to confer the doctorate on the junta boss. Min Aung Hlaing’s obsession with titles is no secret to the world. He has conferred two titles on himself and one on his wife since the coup.

The latest title is the second he has received from Russia. In June 2021, the Russian Military University handed him an honorary professorship.

At Monday’s ceremony, Min Aung Hlaing reciprocated by handing decorations to the Russian deputy defense minister, on whom he conferred the Thiri Pyanchi title last year.


‘Watermelons’ continue to ripen

Deputy junta chief Soe Win meets with platoon command trainees at Ba Htoo garrison town in southern Shan State on Thursday. /Cincds

Further evidence of the regime being out of touch with reality came when deputy junta chief Soe Win called for continuation of the “complete unity” among military personnel during his meeting with platoon command trainees at Ba Htoo, a garrison town in southern Shan State on Thursday.

The military has been hit hard by desertions since the coup. There is also another threat – watermelons, a term coined to refer to soldiers who wear green army uniforms but whose attachment to democracy and the red flag of the ousted National League for Democracy government means that they are red on the inside. Conditions are ripe for many more deserters. As such, Soe Win’s description of “complete unity” is farfetched, to say the least.

Since the beginning of the revolution, a whopping 3,236 military personnel and 12,327 police have deserted, according to the National Unity Government.


Myanmar Junta Orders Civil Servants to Participate in Regime’s Thingyan Festival

The Yangon Mayor pavilion during the regime-organized Thingyan in 2022.

Yangon residents refuse to take part in propaganda exercise designed to create impression of normality and control in war-torn country. Read more here: 


Myanmar Regime Signs Energy Agreement With China

The signing ceremony for agreements and MoUs between Myanmar and China’s Yunnan government.

The country is suffering from an acute electricity shortage, forcing the junta to ask China for a bigger share of energy from Myanmar-based power plants. Read more here: