President U Win Myint’s speech delivered at the swearing-in ceremony of Myanmar Press Council
Greetings and wishes of auspiciousness to Union Chief Justice, Union Ministers, Union Government members, heads of Union level organizations, Deputy Ministers and MPC members led by the Chairman who are attending the swearing-in ceremony of MPC.
Today’s event is the swearing-in according to the News Media Rule section 14 of MPC members elected according to News Media Law Chapter 3.
I would like to say first that MPC members are trusted and expected to perform their duties and responsibilities according to the aims and stipulations of the News Media Law as well as for the development of the Myanmar journalism sector with their best efforts and endeavors.
At the swearing-in ceremony held at the Pyidaungsu Hluttaw on 30 March 2018 I urged to respect the role of the news media sector which serves as the eyes and ears of the people. In my following speeches and meetings, I spoke whenever appropriate about the news media sector.
For a successful and smooth transition to democracy, set thoughts and views, rigid and established practices are to be changed and transformed, the skewed judicial sector is to be straightened, human rights violations are to be protected, public funds are not to be wasted, drug and corruption to be eradicated and purged. The requirement for a correct cooperation on these matters among not only government organizations and relevant union level organizations but also with private media and civil society organizations were advocated.
When I took up my duty as President I spoke of striving towards the Union Government’s priority goals of
(1) Rule of law and raising the socio-economic lives of the people
(2) National reconciliation and internal peace
(3) Establishing a basic foundation of a Democratic Federal Union which is amending the Constitution
with the collective strength of the legislative, administrative, judicial sectors, news media, civil society organizations and the people transparently, responsibly and dutifully.
Therefore news media personnel and journalists, who are playing an important role in the establishment of a Democratic Federal Union yearned for by the people, are especially required to follow and stand on the aims, rights, duties, and ethics prescribed in the news media law.
Because the media had actively participated and worked together with the people to achieve the democratic rights of freedom, equality and justice, today our country is starting to walk down the road of democracy. We are doing this in a balanced, mindful and restrained way based on the method of “make reforms happen without affecting stability.” The government is doing this with care without jeopardizing the democratic transition. News media presenting news more openly and fearlessly than in the past is to be welcomed, but we also noticed cases where laws had been broken.
Laws are to be obeyed and rules and regulations are to be followed if democracy is to thrive. That is why MPC members are to perform the duties and responsibilities of the council according to the enacted news media law. Rights of the news media personnel are to be obtained while news media personnel are trained to conduct their duties, responsibilities and follow the ethics in a balanced way so that on the other hand the rights of the people to know is fulfilled. We also understand the nature of newly established democratic countries wanting to practice media freedom in the same way as in countries where democracy had been established for hundreds of years. It is to be noted that practicing of media freedom comes together with being responsible.
During the time when the government is striving towards the aim of establishing a Federal Democratic Union, MPC is to lead in setting down do-s and don’ts for media personnel regarding spreading of hatred, and creating/increasing conflicts between ethnic nationals. Media personnel are to be managed and trained by MPC on reporting delicate and sensitive matters regarding race and religion, to follow the laws, rules, procedures and regulations. Guidance must be given so that there is no deviation from the path of the democratic transition. Frankly speaking MPC is to follow the news media law and rules and conduct matters without bias and favoritism. MPC must strive toward speedily reaching the goals of the democratic transition and establishing a Democratic Federal Union as desired by the people.
For the sake of democracy, our government understands the importance of media freedom that is in accordance with the law. We believe that the role of MPC is very important for a society to become democratic. In the 21st century there are many things that the people want to know and media personnel need to be sure that the facts are right, information is correct, peace and stability is not affected and the security of the country is protected.
I understand that news media is a soft power that is slow and fast. Literature, cultures and arts are slow media. Knowledge and skills are mainly emphasized. The effect is slow. Radio, movie, video, social media are fast media. It spreads among the people quickly within a short time regardless of borders and boundaries. There is an effect in a short time. In the age of information technology, politics is more connected with this soft power. Use this soft power for news and information related to our country, create a good image of the country and use it effectively in the public relations sector.
We accept that without discussions, debates, criticism with good facts and reason, there wouldn’t be democracy. Criticism must be made in a positive way for internal peace, arriving at the goal of democracy, and establishment of a Democratic Federal Union. It is to be noted that a well-intentioned criticism, if not conducted properly, could cause more harm, misunderstanding and damage. Our country is just starting to change from an old era and system to a new one. When breaking out from the old path to a new one, there are unavoidable difficulties and problems. In this situation we need to ensure the survival of the young democracy sapling that was obtained with high cost. If we are unable to conduct the democratic transition successfully with all of our collective strengths, we would have failed in our duty and responsibility towards our future generation. With a belief and acceptance that the democratic transition will be successful, our government will work in unity with the people to achieve the goal of democracy.
At a time when we are facing difficulties and obstacles in establishing a Democratic Federal Union, transformation and reforms were conducted in many sectors while facing challenges, may the MPC members who are leading the important Myanmar media sector:
(1) Implement the aims of Myanmar News Media Law
(2) Achieve the rights and freedom of news media personnel according to the law
(3) Lead news media personnel to conduct their works according to ethic and rules
(4) Satisfy the rights of the people to know
(5) Raise the image of the country in which we were born, bring forth pride and dignity to its people through the power of news media
Thank you. (Translated by Zaw Min)