Three-stage Process in Myanmar’s Media Reforms
Myanmar is implementing a three-stage process in its media reforms that began in 2008 when changes in its constitution were adopted through a national referendum. It covers the relaxation of restrictions on local periodicals that stresses responsibility and accountability, the adoption of a new print media law that will replace the existing Registration of Printers and Publishers Law of 1962, and support for the private media sector to harmoniously exercise freedom and accountability under the new print media law.
development of the media in Myanmar. “International norms will be explored and shared concerning Myanmar. What we see are changing and new media patterns, new media channels, enabling new forms for discussion, civic participation and dialogue,” he said.
Mr. U Kyaw Hsan, Myanmar’s Minister of Information and Culture, announced these reforms in his speech before the Conference on Media Development in Myanmar held in Yangon from 19 – 20 March 2012. Myanmar’s Ministry of Information and Culture and UNESCO in partnership with International Media Support (IMS) and Canal France International (CFI) organized this event.
With the media reforms, 173 journals and 124 magazines can now publish without prior approval from the Press Scrutiny and Registration Department, Minister U Kyaw Hsan said.
Myanmar has tapped regional media organizations in crafting the new media law, which he said, facilitates the proper use of press freedom for the long-term progress of Myanmar’s media sector.
“Myanmar’s media sector will have more transparency and freedom in the future,” Minister U Kyaw Hsan told some 200 foreign and local delegates mostly from NGOs and print media including the exiled media Democratic Voice of Burma and Mizzimo.
He added “some people have expressed concern over the government’s right to supervise, claiming it contravenes Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. But our goal is the emergence of current media reforms and the emergence of a genuine fourth estate in a democratic society.”
The conference was supported by Norway, Sweden, and Denmark.
Another conference speaker was Col. Ye Htut, Director-General of the Information and Public Relations Department (IPRD), Ministry of Information and Culture, who cited the contributions of AIBD and FES in Myanmar’s media development since 2007.
Etienne Clement, Deputy Director, UNESCO Bangkok, also spoke, saying the conference provided an opportunity for the future
Ms. Bettina Peters of the Global Forum for Media Development, said in her speech that she was excited by the changes taking place in Myanmar and the opportunities that enabled democratic debate in a cohesive society. She said that “free and independent media plays a crucial role in a modern society. Any country faces challenges. Myanmar needs to get this right.”
(From left): Dr. Helmut Osang of DW Akademie and AIBD’s Marcel Gomez
Mr. Marcel Gomez, AIBD senior programme manager, represented the Institute in the two-day meet. While in Yangon, he met Mr. Etienne Clement, deputy director, UNESCO Bangkok and invited him to participate in the Asia Meida Summit 2012 in Bangkok. He also promoted the AMS in his other meetings with Mr. Johan Romare, international director of FOJO Media Institute, Mr. David Holmertz, senior programme manager of SIDA, Ms. Katrin Fruhinsfeld, second secretary, Germany Embassy; Mr Flavio Milan, counsellor, Swiss Embassy; and Dr Sun Gang, country coordinator of UNAIDS.
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