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December 12, 2019

Four pillars of democracy discuss balanced cooperation for accurate news dispersal

Union Minister Dr. Pe Myint delivers the speech at the meeting of four pillars of democracy in Nay Pyi Taw yesterday. Photo: MNA

Representatives from the four pillars of democracy — the legislative, the administrative, the judiciary, and the media — took part in a workshop yesterday in Nay Pyi Taw to discuss ways to promote balanced cooperation between the media and the three other pillars in order to provide reliable information to the people.
Speaking at the workshop, Union Minister for Information Dr. Pe Myint expressed the hope that the forum would help strengthen press freedom and smoothen the path to democratic transition.
The meeting was aimed at the four pillars working with each other to seek solutions to challenges, said the Union Minister, adding that there are checks and balances to ensure the voices of the people and the media are heard by the other pillars.
Each pillar has rights and limitations, said the Union Minister.
Before discussions began at the workshop, Union Minister Dr. Pe Myint outlined the agenda of the workshop — the fourth pillar, the media, would demand its rights, which would be followed by a discussion, and a deliberation on ways to resolve issues.
He also told the media that if the discussions are successful, the media would gain benefits, while the remaining pillars would gain pride.
Afterwards, the Chairman of the Myanmar Press Council, Hanthawady U Ohn Kyaing, stressed the importance of building trust between the government and the media, and urged both sides to strengthen trust through understanding.
He referred to the workshop as a meeting for building trust between the government and the media.
Then, Deputy Minister U Aung Hla Tun expressed his belief that issuing of accreditation cards to media personnel by the government would help dispel distrust and doubts between media personnel and their sources.
He also stressed the importance of cooperation and understanding from the first three pillars, so that the media can provide fair and balanced information to the people.
Later, Myanmar Press Council Vice-Chairman Dr. Myo Thant Tin called for the legislative, the administrative, and the judiciary to coordinate with the media through forums and workshops to promote democracy and the perpetuation of the State and the people. Thereafter, Pyithu Hluttaw Health and Sports Development Committee Chairman Dr. San Shwe Win underscored the importance of media development, as the fourth pillar can help reduce poverty, fight corruption, uphold laws, protect human rights, and prevent losses to the public exchequer.
Next, the Deputy Director of the Union Supreme Court, U Nyo Tun, told participants at the workshop that the News Media Law was enacted in 2014 and one year later, the Union Supreme Court issued a media manual for court news.
The Union Supreme Court formed an information team at every court, and information officials of the courts released news to the media, he said.
The Union Supreme Court releases an annual report on measures taken by the courts at different levels, he added.
Afterwards, the Secretary of the Tatmadaw True News Team, Brig-Gen Zaw Min Tun, said the Tatmadaw has maintained a good relationship with the media, and has stepped it up since the Myanmar Press Council came into existence. Then, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Information, U Myo Myint Maung, and the Secretary of the Myanmar Press Council, U Kyaw Swar Min, detailed efforts taken for the development of the media sector.
At the workshop, representatives from the executive pillar, the legislative pillar, the judiciary pillar, the Union Attorney-General’s office, and the Myanmar Press Council discussed matters related to collecting accurate and correct information, and cooperation between the media and the other pillars by building trust and understanding. Afterwards, personnel from the Myanmar Journalists Association, Myanmar Journalists Network, Burma News International, Myanmar Press Union, and Myanmar Women Journalists Group raised questions and officials of the three pillars answered them.
The workshop came to an end with concluding remarks made by the Union Minister for Information Dr. Pe Myint.The first meeting of the four pillars of the democracy was held on 30 December, 2016, and the second on 21 February, 2018. Participants at the workshop decided to increase cooperation between the four pillars, and to hold a Union-level meeting of the four pillars at least once a year.
According to discussions at the workshop, the Myanmar Press Council and other related organizations would help the media sector ensure that they collect information ethically. The four pillars also agreed yesterday to overcome challenges by encouraging mutual respect, and the Myanmar Press Council also agreed to lead the issuing of accreditation cards to media personnel, and the other pillars agreed to assist it in this work.
The Myanmar Press Council and the Ministry of Information will work together to encourage the sustainability of print media.
Participants at the workshop also agreed to cooperate in releasing news in a timely manner, promote Media and Information Literacy, put up information and press releases on the ministries’ websites and online pages in a timely manner, provide easy access to information at the Hluttaws, form a work committee to implement the results of the meeting of the four pillars, work with the authorities to expose those who disseminate fake news, control misuse of social media, promote cooperation between the Myanmar Press Council, the ministries concerned, and the Hluttaw to enact laws which can help develop the news media, and provide equal opportunities to media, including ethnic media, in terms of access to information from the regional and state government departments. — MNA (Translated by AMS)

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