Junta spokesperson Gen. Zaw Min Tun has blasted banned exiled media outlets as “ball lifters” for the civilian government in exile and dared them to ask his preferred questions.
Frustrated by an ability to control the narrative, the military mouthpiece tried to reverse an insult for junta supporters in comments to reporters in which he said seven media outlets including Myanmar Now, Khit Thit, and Irrawaddy, were boosting the National Unity Government, aka NUG.
He even had some hygiene tips for those he says are wrapped around anti-junta testicles.
“NUG’s ball-lifter media … are they leprosy media?” he said. “If so, please wash your hands often, like the lyrics of the COVID-19 prevention song, and stay away from crowds.”
“Ball lifter” has come to be a sobriquet for those who support the military in return for some advantage.
He said reporters should instead be asking the NUG, which is led by lawmakers from ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy, why it was soliciting so much money.
He mentioned Radio Free Asia, DVB TV News, The Irrawaddy, Mizzima, Myanmar Now and Khit Thit, whose media licenses were revoked two months after the 2021 coup.
“Ball lifters” was arguably an improvement over the “sluts” and “whores” he called them just last year.
And while they may be laughable insults, they help feed a much more dangerous elements. Khit Thit media reported that a military-aligned group called Blood Allies, which has killed at least eight people in Mandalay, said recently that it wold kill the family members of those working for DVB, Mizzima, and Khit Thit.
Observers say his remarks show the Tatmadaw, as Myanmar’s military is known, knows its propaganda is badly losing the information war.
Since the Feb. 1, 2021, coup, the junta has routinely targeted journalists with arrest warrants, nighttime raids, arbitrary arrests, beatings, and detentions.
According to Reporters Without Borders, at least 115 journalists had been arrested in the past year, as of February. Some journalists were detained at home, and violence was frequently used against them, with three journalists killed since the coup.