YANGON, Myanmar, June 6 (UPI) -- Myanmar's state-run media have accused international media of embellishing reports about the devastation caused by Cyclone Nargis to harm the country's image.
An article in a state newspaper accused international media outlets of faking video footage of widespread damage and exaggerating poor living conditions "with the intention of tarnishing the image" of the country formerly known as Burma, the BBC reported Friday.
The New Light of Myanmar condemned "self-seekers exploiting storm victims," for their "shooting video films featuring made-up stories in the storm-affected areas ... and sending the videotapes to foreign news agencies."
The country's military junta has been criticized for its unwillingness to accept foreign aid after the May 2 cyclone. Now military leaders allow some experts from U.N. agencies and southeast Asian countries to help victims.
Officially, 78,000 people were killed and 56,000 are missing. More than 2 million people were affected, aid agencies say.
Myanmar leaders want to prove they are in control of the relief effort and don't need massive foreign aid, observers and news correspondents told the British broadcaster. Relief agencies said they don't have the unrestricted access they need to implement fully the types of relief and reconstruction operations required.