AP corrects report on Suu Kyi’s ‘illegal immigration’ comment

Aung San Suu Kyi appears at the Asia-Europe Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in Naypyidaw on November 21, 2017. Photo: Facebook / Myanmar State Counsellor Office
Aung San Suu Kyi appears at the Asia-Europe Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in Naypyidaw on November 21, 2017. Photo: Facebook / Myanmar State Counsellor Office

The Associated Press has corrected a report that misquoted State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi as saying global conflict and instability are the result of illegal immigration. A transcript of the state counsellor’s speech has revealed that her remarks actually listed immigration and terrorism as consequences of global conflict.

“Conflicts around the world are giving rise to new threats and emergencies; illegal migration, spread of terrorism and violent extremism, social disharmony and even the threat of nuclear war. Conflicts take away peace from societies, leaving behind underdevelopment and poverty, pushing peoples and even countries away from one another,” reads the transcript of Suu Kyi’s speech on Monday at the Asia-Europe Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in Naypyidaw.

However, AP’s initial report quoted Suu Kyi as saying “illegal immigration’s spread of terrorism and violent extremism” was the cause of conflicts around the world. The story ran with the headline “Suu Kyi blames world conflicts partly on illegal immigration.”

transcript
An official transcript of Aung San Suu Kyi’s speech.

News outlets around the world, including Coconuts Yangon, published stories based on AP’s initial interpretation of the speech before a correction was issued.

“The Associated Press wrongly transcribed remarks by State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi at a meeting of foreign ministers,” reads the correction. The headline has been changed to “Suu Kyi: instability leads to illegal migration, terrorism.”

Myanmar Press Council vice chairman Aung Hla Tun told The Irrawaddy that AP’s first report was a “purposeful ‘misinterpretation’ with an ulterior motive to hurt her image, and that of our country among the international country.”

Kyaw Zeya, the permanent secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, reacted to the factual error, saying: “We were saddened by the mistake of the AP, although her comments were available at the state-run media immediately. We are also very upset by the publishing of the mistake from the AP by other international media.”

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