August 19, 2016

Govt welcomes report on media development in Myanmar

A ceremony to launch ‘Assessment of Media Development in Myanmar’is held in Yangon. Photo: MNA
A ceremony to launch ‘Assessment of Media Development in Myanmar’is held in Yangon. Photo: MNA

THE new government has expressed a desire to gain ideas and means for the development of local media, including press freedom in Myanmar, from a report titled ‘Assessment of Media Development in Myanmar’ based on UNESCO’s Media Development Indicators.
At the release of the first in-depth study by International Media Support and UNESCO yesterday in Yangon, Union Minister for Information Dr Pe Myint, in his keynote address, vowed that the government would cooperate with individuals and organisations to improve the country’s media sector. He affirmed the government’s commitment to the development of the media sector, adding that the recommendations of the study are in conformity with the government’s democratisation policies.
“We found the study has recommended a review of the current media law and the judiciary branch and encouraged the emergence of diversity and the development of ethnic [minority] media and gender equality. These are not much different from the topics discussed by Myanmar media personnel. The report is considered a first way to get good ideas to overcome the weaknesses of Myanmar media,” said the Union Minister.
“Myanmar’s media institutions have seen progress from 2011 to 2016. However, the current situation has not yet reached a satisfactory level,” he added.
Recommendations of the report include legal reforms to promote freedom of expression and information, developing public service broadcasters and community media, strengthening media self-regulatory frameworks, fostering journalism education, particularly outside Yangon and introducing media literacy programmes.
“It is our hope that this report will help to inform the new government’s media reform strategy to continue a positive development of independent and pluralistic media in Myanmar,” said Glen Swanson, IMS’s programme manager in Yangon and team leader of the research team behind the report.
“However, the onus rests not only on the government, but also on media persons to constructively engage in this process, holding the government to account and supporting democratic development through professional and reliable journalism,” he said.
The UNESCO-IMS report speaks directly to this challenge by identifying gaps and key priorities to guide the reform of the media sector in five major areas: legal and regulatory framework; plurality and diversity of media; media as a platform for democratic discourse; professional capacity building; and infrastructural capacity.
The public launch attracted local media stakeholders to discuss key findings and ways forward for media development in Myanmar.—GNLM


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