- Aye Myint Aung
In such a period of time when everything is changing, I always remember a speech that Abraham Lincoln made over 150 years ago—“If we could first know where we are, and whither we are tending, we could then better judge what to do, and how to do it.”
Whenever I remember it, I happen to review what we experienced, as for the media man who had worked for many years in the media environment, to which state we reached and how we expect to proceed.
Origin of our journey
To put it simply, we all strived ourselves to be liberated from Dark Age on News. We lived under the suppression of dictators, being deprived of freedom of description and freedom of expression. We could not resist the censorship. Only when 2008 Constitution did come into existence, all the media men approached for the solution in their own ways, so as to reap the freedom of journalism and rights of journalists. In other word, voices for demanding for the freedom of journalism and for being free from suppression were being heard in the media world at that time. In the Myanmar democratic society, it depicts that media sector plays an important role for freedom of expression, good governance and national development.
On April 26, 2017 Reporters Sans Frontieres (RSF) released the status of freedom of press of global countries, in which it has been learnt that Myanmar was ranked 131st place out of over 180 countries. In fact, it can be said to be unsatisfactory but we need to ponder how we marched to reach the state and how many difficulties we experienced and how much we sacrificed. In the year 2011/2012, Myanmar stood at 169th place out of 170 countries concerning the status of freedom of expression of Myanmar. We cannot deny changing into present situation was attributed to efforts of the media men.
Designated theme for world press freedom day, 2017 is “Critical Minds for Critical Times: Media role in advancing peaceful, just and inclusive societies.
When the theme has been analyzed, our media men have 3 tasks to be done—for our societies to become peaceful societies, to become just and fair societies and to become all-inclusive societies.
At the end of 20th century, patterns of political extremism in the world became on the verge of extinction but religious and racial extremists are still surviving. Today’s world was assumed to have been more complicated between open mind and closed mind. Most people believe that societies surviving on open mind will develop in future. To bring about open mind, every media man should encourage for 3 tasks of peace, justice and all-inclusiveness to survive in human societies. In doing so, what media men must be aware is for both sides to approach for the right solution with full understanding, as most of the media are transforming their political system subtly, their needs cannot be permitted to the full and media men do not yet get accustomed to the media ethics, responsibility and accountability pertaining to freedom of expression.
To tell the truth, when we started to think about media freedom in the past, our first-ever approach was just the press media. As known by all, CNN broadcasting station has been broadcasting news and documentary news reports around the clock, after 1980, changing roles of newspapers. Now that 24-hour-broadcasting stations are emerging a lot, patterns of media changed, and we must implement media development not only by depending wholly upon print media but also by relying upon online media which is also named new media, besides print media and broadcast media.
Presently, implementation of Ministry of Information for the development of media has shown that the ministry has been giving supports for the development of state-owned media and private media. In the financial year 2016-2017, the ministry supported K 247 million to Myanmar News Media Council and will provide K 299 million in 2017-2018.
And, the ministry has been carrying out amendment of rules and regulations on printing and publication that are no longer suitable with the current situations, holding workshops for journalists to cover news in safety.
In conclusion, in accord with the designated theme, 2017, our media men must implement. So as to be able to do so, our critical mind and critical thinking are also of great importance. We need to think deeply to which extent the news item can lead a society to effective result.
In this 21st century world, human beings’ ideas and doctrines differ greatly. As a result, standardized values and expected values differ between societies. These differences are to be solved by accepting these dissimilarities through mutual understanding and patience.
In other word, without prioritizing what we want to implement according to the essence of democracy, the good practising of finding solutions by combining or consulting what we want and what others want must be cultivated.
For the smoothness of democratic federal union road we are marching, media men are required to help hand in hand with rightful stance, doctrines and cooperation, so that peaceful, just and fair and all-inclusive Myanmar society will really emerge.
Translated by Khin Maung Oo (Tada-U)