October 22, 2017

Ministerial Spokespersons Meeting Held

In his address at the first coordination meeting of ministry spokespersons in Nay Pyi Taw yesterday, Union Minister for Information Dr Pe Myint said qualified spokespersons will enhance the image of the ministries and the government, stressing the role of media in connecting people to the government by serving as a public voice. Photo: MNA
In his address at the first coordination meeting of ministry spokespersons in Nay Pyi Taw yesterday, Union Minister for Information Dr Pe Myint said qualified spokespersons will enhance the image of the ministries and the government, stressing the role of media in connecting people to the government by serving as a public voice. Photo: MNA

TWENTY-ONE of twenty-two Myanmar ministries have put forward 67 spokespersons that will play a representative role for ministries in the future it was revealed yesterday, some ministries will have up to five representatives.
U Tint Swe, Permanent-Secretary of the Ministry of Information (MoI) told The Global New Light of Myanmar that a meeting was held in Naypyitaw with representatives from the media community and future ministerial reps to discuss how the MoI will carry out this plan.
“We plan to hold short training courses in the middle of June for the selected spokespeople, it will be lead by UNESCO and the Ministry of Information,” said U Tint Swe.
Mikel Aguirre Idiaquez, UNESCO’s Media Development Specialist confirmed the collaboration but said that the organisation isn’t set to discuss the details just yet, but that the initiative is funded by the EU and is a UNESCO initiative to help develop the media “in the context of democratic reforms.”
The previous government set up an outlet for the media to have access to ministerial information where permanent-secretaries or director generals acted the part of spokesperson.
There are complications as this creates extra roles for that particular person. Past and current spokespeople from ministries have issues balancing the duty as they are busy or in meetings where they can’t answer calls.
Yesterday was the first round of talks which look to be held monthly, in order to develop a plan for the training program and to move from “basic to advance” courses, says U Tint Swe.
U Thiha Saw, Executive Director of the Myanmar Journalism Institute, who attended the talks, said that not all 67 future spokespeople were present, but that representatives were present in exchange.
“Four people from the media community were involved. We were there to discuss with them how to effectively communicate with the media. They have their own issues and problems and we have our own issues too. It was an open discussion about what possibilities we have for future cooperation,” said U Thiha Saw.
He pressed the need for training but also for a media team within each ministry to be able to properly communicate with the press and to also feed correct information to the public.
Yesterday’s talks are not a part of the MoI’s Right to Information Law that The Global New Light of Myanmar reported on 4 May to be discussed as early as next month. U Tint Swe says that the law is still being drafted and isn’t a priority because it isn’t part of the government’s “100-day plan.”
“I think it will be 3-4 months, so maybe September or October – the draft [Right to Information Law] discussions will be held,” he said.
Even then these discussions will be held with CSOs, private-media and relevant organisations before it is submitted to parliament.
U Thiha Saw said that before the Right to Information Law is introduced, ministries need to properly set up media departments in order to deal with information requested by the public and the media.

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