Chronology of the Press in Burma
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Chronology of the Press in Burma


By The Irrawaddy Saturday, May 1, 2004


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1836 – 1846

* During this period the first English-language newspaper was launched under British-ruled Tenasserim, southern Burma. The first ethnic Karen-language and Burmese-language newspapers also appear in this period.  

March 3, 1836The first English-language newspaper, The Maulmain Chronicle, appears in the city of Moulmein in British-ruled Tenasserim. The paper, first published by a British official named E.A. Blundell, continued up until the 1950s.

September 1842Tavoy’s Hsa-tu-gaw (the Morning Star), a monthly publication in the Karen-language of Sgaw, is established by the Baptist mission. It is the first ethnic language newspaper. Circulation reached about three hundred until its publication ceased in 1849.

January 1843—The Baptist mission publishes a monthly newspaper, the Christian Dhamma Thadinsa (the Religious Herald), in Moulmein. Supposedly the first Burmese-language newspaper, it continued up until the first year of the second Anglo-Burmese War in 1853. In 1862 the paper resumed publication under a different name, the Burman Messenger.

 1846—The Maulmain Free Press newspaper is published by an English merchant in Moulmein.

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1847 – 1857

* About four English-language newspapers emerge. One is published by ethnic Arakan in the capital of Sittwe, Arakan state. The British legislation council enacts a law, known as the “law to shut mouth” banning the publication of news without prior approval.

July 1, 1848—The English-language paper, the Maulmain Advertiser, is published in Moulmein. It may have first appeared as early as 1846. The paper, published three times a week by W. Thomas & Co, altered its name to the Maulmain Times in 1850, but the following year it resumed its previous name.

1849—A weekly publication, the English-language Friend of Burmah newspaper, starts in Moulmein.

January 5, 1853—The Rangoon Chronicle newspaper is published twice a week. Later, it changes its name to the Pegu Gazette. It ceased publication in May 1958.

1853The twice-weekly English-language Akyab (Sittwe) Commercial Advertiser is published in Sittwe, by Arakan Weekly News Press. The following year, the paper changes its name to the Arakan News. Circulation reached about 150.

June 13, 1857—Lord Canning, the Governor General of India from 1856-1862, introduces a law banning the publication of any news without prior approval in an attempt to regulate the press.

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1858 – 1868

* At least three new newspapers emerge. There are six newspapers being published during this period.

June 2, 1858—The English-language Rangoon Times is published, possibly as early as 1854. The newspaper began as a twice-weekly publication, however, it increased to three times a week by 1861 and later became a daily.



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