Kyaw Hsan: Friend or Enemy of the Press?
covering burma and southeast asia
Saturday, March 23, 2019


Kyaw Hsan: Friend or Enemy of the Press?

By Yeni APRIL, 2006 - VOLUME 14 NO.4


Burmese Information Minister Brig-Gen Kyaw Hsan may appear outwardly to be a friend of the local press. But he also carries a big stick.


Burmese Minister of Information Brig-Gen Kyaw Hsan seems to have a very busy schedule these days. But helping to channel real information to the Burmese masses doesn’t seem to be his main concern. If anything, it is to coax Burma’s tame media to wean readers and viewers away from news and onto entertainment, sport and soap operas.


Officially, his current schedule looks like this: Meet  members of the Chinese Journalists Association from Beijing, led by chairman Shao Huaz; host Ronald Breggen, from the Dutch head office of New Skies Satellites, and his company’s Singapore-based Asia-Pacific sales director Matthew Oh, based in Singapore; and inspect the state-owned Myanma Radio and Television station on Rangoon’s Pyay Road. But more important, he has been lecturing chief editors of the state-owned newspapers, and reviewing his new media policy.


More ominously, he was meeting officials at Burma’s notorious Press Scrutiny and Registration Division, where the minister encouraged them to “cooperate with press.”


Kyaw Hsan as a personality cooperates with the press quite well. He holds press conferences and answers questions with smiles. He gets along well with some local editors and journalists. He has also allowed reporters to cover natural disasters, poverty and health issues, such as HIV/AIDS—which in Burma’s tightly-controlled environment were issues which were previously banned.


In the past, the regime’s semi-official The Myanmar Times had a special privilege to report some sensitive issues. But the privilege has now been spread to others.


The minister has also been involved in conducting recent journalism courses. Not surprisingly, he was also one of the lecturers.

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