The Associated Press – LONDON (AP) — As the world braces for Myanmar’s largest ethnic cleansing since a 2011 military coup, the Associated Press is trying to figure out how the world should cover the crisis.
The AP’s Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative unit has been working with a Myanmar government watchdog to identify what it calls its “gold standard” for reporting on human rights abuses in the nation.
The group, which includes Pulitzer Prize winners in its newsrooms, has published a list of the five most prominent human rights abusers.
The AP identified the five in a new book, titled Myanmar’s Hidden History: The Untold Story of Myanmar’s War Crimes, and published it Monday.
The AP did not name the Myanmar government officials involved in the vetting process.
It is the first time the AP has written a book about Myanmar’s war crimes, and the AP is not the first news organization to publish the list.
It was compiled by the Myanmar Independent Commission of Inquiry into the country’s crackdown on ethnic Rohingya, or Burmese Muslim, rights activists say.
The commission was set up by the government in 2014 to investigate crimes against humanity in Myanmar’s military-led crackdown on the Rohingya, which the U.S. government accused of being a form of ethnic cleansing.
The Myanmar government is denying it is guilty of crimes against Rohingya.
In the book, AP reporter James McAuley details how the Myanmar state-owned Myanmar News Agency (MNNA) and other outlets have published articles about Myanmar officials who were accused of crimes, including some with the same names as the Myanmar official who was found guilty of genocide, crimes against the national security and war crimes.
The list is a summary of the Myanmar news agency’s reporting, McAuly said in an interview.
The report, which contains many of the same information about the cases, is a “gold-standard” for Myanmar officials to use, he said.
One of the key findings of the report is that the state-run MNNA is publishing a lot of misinformation about what is happening in the country, said McAu, who was in Myanmar last month for AP’s Asia Pacific bureau and also wrote the book.
Myanmar has been under an unprecedented state of emergency since a military coup in 2014, which has allowed ethnic-separatist forces to rule the country for nearly two decades.
The government, he added, has been pushing the news agency to publish information that is often inaccurate and misleading.
A major reason for publishing the list is that Myanmar’s press is under intense pressure from the military and the government to cover up human rights violations, said a senior Myanmar official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue.
The official, whose country is controlled by a military-backed government, said the MNNA has a duty to report accurate information to its readers, and is willing to be accountable for what it does.
He said the government is also pushing the press to be more independent of the military.
“I think there is pressure on the press,” the official said.
“We are trying to ensure that the public knows the truth.”
In the United States, the State Department has accused Myanmar of committing genocide, the first such charge leveled at a country outside of war-torn Iraq and Afghanistan.
The government has said that Rohingya were persecuted for years.
The U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, which monitors human rights in Myanmar, has said it has documented at least 40,000 killings, forced displacement and other abuses in Myanmar in the past five years.
The U.K. Foreign Office has said the Myanmar military has carried out mass rapes and other crimes against ethnic minorities.
Myanmar says it is protecting minorities.
In an editorial in the Sunday Times of London, the newspaper said it was critical of the AP’s list, but praised Myanmar’s efforts to investigate the crimes.
The New York Times has also called Myanmar’s violence against the Rohingya a “crime against humanity.”
The AP did publish a list in 2015 that also listed Myanmar’s leaders.
However, that was based on information supplied by a U.n. human rights official, according to the AP.
The United Nations Human Rights Council has launched an investigation of Myanmar, but has not publicly named the country or accused it of genocide.
Myanmar’s government says it does not tolerate discrimination against any group.
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