August 19, 2016

To be true to the name fourth pillar

With the freedom of press granted by the incumbent government as part of the democratisation process, the media be it print or electronic or internet has greater influence upon the readers, audience and viewers. In addition, all the print media publications could have saved time, money and energy since then, as they were no longer needed to undergo pre-press censorship process handled by the Press Scrutiny Board under the Ministry of Information.
It is worth recalling that this censorship board was formerly under the ministry of home affairs in order to ensure that legal action could be taken against those who had violated the rules and regulations regarding publications. This censorship team is now handling chiefly the application for publication licences and registration. Nevertheless, the censorship is still there in the form of post auditing. They are still checking all the publications to find out if the printed materials are in line with the political policy of the incumbent government. Although the ministry of information has stopped pre-press censorship, it has provided a policy framework within which all newspapers, journals and magazines are to cover the news and report in an ethical manner.
It is true that legal action is very rarely seen taken against the violators these days. As the media industry has now the press council to intervene in cases of disputes, complaints and grievances on the part of either the publishers or readers or a third party affected by the news reports carried in the newspapers, journals and magazines. However, the press council cannot take legal action against the violators because media are not controlled by the law; they are monitored by journalist ethics. As ethics are not binding, the violators cannot have legal action taken.
This being so, it is of utmost importance for the journalists to be ethical. In this function, the authorities are necessary to promote the importance of strict abidance by the journalist ethics. The Global New Light of Myanmar would, therefore, like to urge all journalists to change their mindset to become law-abiding citizens and ethical journalists in order to be true to their existence as the fourth pillar.


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