A Rangoon pro-junta journal has accused reporters working for foreign news agencies of conspiring with protestors to create instability in the country by taking advantage of a recent hike in fuel prices.

“It is clearly a conspiracy of the protestors and local reporters to incite unrests [in the country] because the reporters reached the protest area in advance,” said May Nine, the article’s author.

The article, titled “People Making a Mountain Out of a Molehill by Taking Advantage of Fuel-price Hikes,” appeared in The Love Journal on Monday.

A Rangoon-based journalist working for a foreign news agency told The Irrawaddy by telephone on Friday: “No conspiracy. We, as journalists, report what is happening [in Rangoon] ethnically and responsibly.”

“This is our duty. We will do it now and continue to do it when our country becomes a democracy.”

He added that in the past he had faced threats by soldiers and police when protests occurred in Rangoon, but this time, the threats came from members of an unknown plainclothes mob.

The Love Journal is published by MK Media, one of the largest media groups in Bruma. Local reporters denounced the article and the journal’s editor, Myat Khaing, who reportedly has a cozy relationship with Information Minister Brig-Gen Kyaw San.

“The author of the article is Myat Khaing himself, and May Nine is one of his pseudonyms,” said a local reporter who requested anonymity,

“It is very irresponsible [for a journalist] to write such an article,” said Sein Hla Oo, a former veteran editor and a parliament-elect member of the National League for Democracy in the 1990 election, told The Irrawaddy on Friday.

“It is shameful for a Burmese citizen to write such an article leading to disunity when the young student leaders, regardless of their life and imprisonment, have tried to bring about national reconciliation and democracy in the country,” he said.

Myat Khaing is also chief editor of The Mahar Journal and several other publications. Local journalists say he is among a handful of journalists who are carrying out the regime’s counter attacks to the international press which has criticized the junta’s human rights violations.