Myanmar Government pledges more cooperation with local and foreign media
Myanmar kicked off the 5th conference on Myanmar media development in Yangon under the title of “Inclusive Independent Media In A New Democracy,” calling for responsibility and accountability in the media sector and pledges for cooperating with local and international media for the country’s media development.
The remarks were made by Union Minister for Information U Pe Myint at the opening of the two-day conference held with the theme “Inclusive Independent Media In A New Democracy”.
“It is needed for journalists to abide by the media ethics as well, without claiming only one voice, ‘freedom of expression,’” said the Union Minister in his opening speech.
The conference will focus on media laws, safety of journalists, gender issues, right to information, sustainability of the independent media, enhancing the voices from social media and community media through discussions.
Media conferences have been held in Myanmar for 5 consecutive years, aimed at developing the realm of media in Myanmar.
The conference is aimed at holding frank discussions among members of the media with a view to developing the media sector and to overcoming challenges in the media world.
“Compared to situations in the past 5 years, the media is more accessible than ever. Yet, there are still some restrictions in collecting news and information by journalists. Some difficulties found in accessing news were discussed among fellow members of the media,” said Dr Pe Myint.
“Arrangements for the fourth estate to have access to its related panels are under way. Spokespersons in the administrative sector have been chosen to conduct training courses on relations with media,” he added.
Media law and laws on printing and publishing have been enacted in the country.
Abolition of the 1962 law on printing and publishing that required Press Scrutiny Boards is a sign of progress. Likewise, laws on television and broadcasting were promulgated in August, 2015. Some amendments are being made, to be submitted to Hluttaw after completion.
The drafting of the Right to Information Law is under way. It is designed for the benefit of the whole populace. By-elections are to be held in April, 2017.
The Ministry of Information will make arrangements for journalists to smoothly collect news and information during by-elections by reassessing the difficulties encountered in previous general elections in cooperation with not only media in Yangon, Mandalay and big cities but also ethnic media, according to the Union Minister.
“The media needs to pay special attention to writing news sensitive to races and religion, to choose news from confirmed sources, to follow media ethics and to report on reasonable findings”, the Union Minister said. “Unreasonable reports may lead to misunderstanding. Some news has been found to have included opinions, conclusions and comments”.
Afterwards, speeches were heard from the head of UNESCO (Myanmar) Ms. Min Jeong Kim and the Swedish ambassador to Myanmar H.E. Mr. Staffan Herrström, followed by the presentation of an audio file sent by U Khin Maung Lay (Pho Thaukkyar).
After the address made by U Thiha Saw, executive director of Myanmar Journalism Institute, Dr Daw Thida Tin, U Myint Kyaw, U Khin Maung Win and Mr Oliver Spencer the head of Article 19, Asian Region, discussed “Media Laws and reassessment of weakness in them.
The issues discussed were security of newsmen, crimes and offences, affairs on genders and the effect of social media. The 1st media conference’s title was The Way Forward, that of the 2nd was The Role of Media in Democratic Transitions: Success, Challenges and the Way Forward, the 3rd was Moving Towards a Sustainable Media Environment, the 4th New Dynamics in Myanmar Media and this year’s is Inclusive Independent Media in a New Democracy, it is learnt.—Myanmar News Agency