How Much Freedom Does Burmese Media Enjoy?
By AUNG ZAW Tuesday, March 6, 2012

(Page 3 of 3)

The space is not being fully exploited due to a lack of professionalism in reporting and writing, as well as rivalry and vested interest between some powerful media groups.

For instance, budget debates in Parliament, abuses in ethnic regions, thorough investigations of Burma’s special economic zones and many other worthwhile stories are still not being unearthed.

Local journals can report corruption at a small scale level and petty crime, but no one dares to question or write about how senior officials, ministers or generals siphon off the state budget.

If the press is really free, I am sure we can have more lively and colorful stories of past and present. We have to convince the president that a free and responsible press will definitely help Burma and his government to move forward.

It is not just that the censorship board is actively exercising its policies through stories, the problem also lies in the skills of reporters and editors. Some media tycoons will bury great stories as they do not want to upset business partners or allies in the government.

Self-censorship and crony journalism are treacherous in the transition period in Burma—we need more honest reporting, good interviews and a premium standard of media in the country.

In late March, the Burmese government is going to hold a second media conference for donors and journalists. I am hoping that more lively discussion will take place on burning issues including media law, democracy and promoting press freedom and security for reporters.
It is expected that more aid money for media development will pour into Burma. Training should benefit the trainees rather than the trainers, and many projects should be designed to empower locals, not just benefit the consultants, instructors and donors agencies.

It is important in the future that experienced Burmese journalists teach the next generation. This will make our media development more sustained and stronger.

Some government officials who are open-minded have told me that they also want to have media training—both the private and government sector would benefit from this as well as nurturing young and talented reporters.

As Burma slowly opens up and travels through this transition period, we need more reporters, journalists and editors who are committed to protect and advance press freedom and exercise ethical standards of top class journalism. They have the big responsibility of speaking the truth to those with power.

Next: Part 2 on The Future of Exiled Media

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Tom Tun Wrote:
Sounds like you don't understand the the rights o people and the one who are violating. In your example, if someone is disrespecting an organization or a particular society, that individual is responsible for his action. However, out of that fear for inappropriate press and punishing the whole society for their rights of freedom of expression is wrong. Society has no rights to silencing one individual if individual has has power to silencing society is wrong.

migalaba Wrote:
Irrawaddy, you have never mentioned about UNESCO is helping legal framework on media laws. Report its development of the news.

"Myanmar: UNESCO will offer technical advice on establishing regulatory and legal framework for the media that meets international standards and best practices, as requested by the government of Myanmar; a national seminar on “the role of media / freedom of expression and information in the democratic setting” will be held in the country on World Press Freedom Day, 3 May, 2012."

mingalaba Wrote:
And also they see it as a glass of half-filled water. Others see it in half-empty.
Such as this

And yes... I'd like to see that "honest reporting". Some news agency report controversial news only in Burmese but not in English because they are bias. They do not dare to report such as like this news in English...

But I agree with you on this "the problem also lies in the skills of reporters and editors."

Venus Wrote:
Don't expect too high yet.We start from zero to flow against the old bloods.Can’t get100 % freedom overnight. Something is just better than nothing.After 2 or 3 round of next election,we might reach to this point.If we are too ambitious to get 100%, even what we get 5% in hand now can be lost forever. I don't believe 100 % media freedom can promise peace and stability. Have you seen the media freedom insulted Buddha surrounded by women in TV out of control? so be in middle path 50%, I can peacefully die.

Tom Tun Wrote:
Isn't it "Freedom Of Speech" a fundamental rights of Human being? Journalism must have freedom of speech and press without any scrutiniy. If there is any kind of restriction on freedom of speech as an individual or press organization, can we even say that we have full Human rights? Sensorship board is kneel jerk action against freedom of speech and covering the crime of the powerful government. There is nothing positive for the people provided by sensorship board.

Myanmar Patriots Wrote:
Not much. Because Aung Zaw and his lackeys keep censoring messages that counter treasonous assertions.
That simple.
State must regulate media because media is power without accountability.
Media is far more dangerous than an army to sovereignty of a nation.
Clip illegal power of the likes of Aung Zaw, lap dog of Western imperialism.
Just look how quickly he got rid of the article about Obama praising the Burmese regime!

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