Burma: New Information Minister To Bring Better Media Freedom? – OpEd


By Zin Linn

Burma’s President Thein Sein has appointed Aung Kyi as new Information Minister in the cabinet reshuffle on August 27. Aung Kyi was former Labor Minister, who also served as the previous military junta’s liaison with Daw Aung San Suu Kyi while she was under house arrest.

New Information Minister Aung Kyi suggested ‘Myanmar Libraries Foundation’ to start on a TV channel to distribute more facts about publications. Aung Kyi recommended the idea while meeting the chairperson, vice chairpersons and central executive committee members of Myanmar Libraries Foundation at Printing and Publishing Enterprise in Rangoon on 9 September 2012, the state-run media said.


Information Minister acknowledged an importance on quality over quantity of libraries by saying the essential requirement for bringing together of reforms and ground-breaking ideas for sustainable progress of rural libraries.

He called attention to the role of the Libraries Foundation as an imperative institution for the nation, demanding better competence.

He also suggested accepting methods from international community in order to support the foundation since the ministry has pledged following the reform path. The goal of the government today is to offer best service delivery through people-centered procedure, he said. He urged to seek techniques that could make direct outcome for better social-economic life of the people.

Although there have been some changing conditions, libraries still continue to exist in developed countries, he pointed out. The Information minister encouraged to try hard for establishment of reference libraries which could help the reform with new initiative. He recommended the executives members of the Libraries Foundation for sustainable improvement of rural libraries.

Several journalists expect better press freedom from the new Information Minister Aung Kyi. Within a week, he has met important media related persons in order to study the ground situation.

On 2 September 2012, he met Maung Wuntha, Chairman of the Myanmar Journalists Association. On the same day, Information Minister also met with executives members, actors and directors from Myanmar Motion Picture Organization (MMPO).

On 8 September, Aung Kyi had met with executives members of Myanmar Writers Association at the meeting hall of Myanmar Radio and Television Studio in Rangoon.

On 9 September, Aung Kyi had met with executives members of Myanmar Journalists Union Organization Committee. On the same day, he also met with executives members of Myanmar Journalists Network.

On 2 September, he had an interview with the Myanmar Times Journal and he articulated in support of abolishing the 1962 Printers and Publishers Registration Law. Aung Kyi told Myanmar Times that it is essential for a democratic country to allow private-owned daily newspapers and predicted that daily publishing licenses will be issued to the private sector early next year.

“I will do my best to ensure that the private sector publications can launch dailies. But before that happens we need some reforms, especially in terms of the institutional capacity to provide for such a development. Our focus is to serve the interests of the people and the President has already announced this strategy. It is because the people’s interest has to be taken into account that I cannot say exactly when daily newspaper licenses will be granted. But if the necessary preparations are made I estimate they might be granted early next year,” Information Minister said during an interview with The Myanmar Times.

Asian Correspondent

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