ISSN 2330-717X

Burma Holds Two-Day Media Development Conference In Yangon – OpEd


By Zin Linn

A Conference on Media Development in Burma (Myanmar) was held at Chatrium Hotel in Rangoon (Yangon) Monday and Tuesday, state-owned newspaper New Light of Myanmar said today. The two-day conference was Jointly organized by Ministry of Information and United Nations Education, Science and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

Present at the conference were officials of the Information Ministry, UN agencies, ambassadors and officials from foreign embassies in Yangon, local and foreign media men, resource persons and guests.

Union Minister for Information and for Culture Kyaw Hsan made an opening address at the conference. At one point, Kyaw Hsan said, “Our aim is to facilitate the correct use of press freedom for long-term progress of Myanmar media world without damaging the interest of human society.”

“The goal of our current media reforms is the emergence of a genuine fourth estate in our democratization process where journalists have the right to seek, receive and impart information and news that are accurate, objective, fair and balanced,” he said in his speech.

Deputy Director of UNESCO Office in Bangkok Mr Etienne Clement and Director of Global Forum for Media Development Ms Bettina Peters also addressed the conference respectively.

Director-General of Information and Public Relations Department under the Ministry of Information Ye Htut and Chief Editor of Open News Weekly Journal Thiha Saw presided over the conference, the New Light of Myanmar said.

In addition, Chairman of Southeast Asian Press Alliance (SEAPA) Mr Kavi Chongkittavorn discussed “the role of the media for democratization in the ASEAN region and in Myanmar”; Chief Editor of The Voice Weekly Journal and Living Color Magazine U Kyaw Min Swe, “the needs and challenges of the media in Myanmar’s democratic transition”; and former chairman of World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters (AMARC) Mr Steve Buckley, “the role of media in empowering communities”.

Columnist and Contributing Editor of The People’s Age Journal Soe Thein (Maung Wun Tha) and Director of Mediterranean Region and Asia, Canal France International Mr Eric Soulier presided over the second session.

Executive Director of Article 19 from Britain Dr Agnes Callemard discussed “the role of media, freedom of expression and information legislation in democratization processes”; Director of ABC International of Australia Dr Murray Green, “the role of media regulation and the values of diversity”, IPRD Director-General Ye Htut, “new media laws and regulations in Myanmar” and Chief Executive Officer of Tempo International Media in Jakarta Mr Bambang Harymurti, “the fundamentals of laws, rules and codes of ethics concerning media practices”.

The third session of the conference was presided by Ko Ko (Chairman of Yangon Media Group) and Ms Bettina Peters (Director of the Global Forum for Media Development – GFMD).

Media Management and Marketing Specialist Ms Michelle J Foster discussed “creating a dynamic media environment; the business of news”; Publisher of Popular News Journal Daw Nan Calyar Win, “Myanmar media industry, its immediate challenges and new media business models”; and Mr. Kumar Nadesan ( Chairman, Sri Lanka Press Institute / Press Complaints Commission of Sri Lanka / Managing Director of Express Newspaper Group and Chairman of Press Institute of Sri Lanka) “unity among different stakeholders for professionalization of media-Sri Lanka Experience”. Resource personnel answered queries raised by those present.

On Day Two’s fourth session was presided by (Ye Htut, Director-General, Information and Public Relations, Ministry of Information) and Dr. Helmut Osang,(Head of DW-AKADEMIE’s Media Development).

During the fourth session Mr. Johan Romare (International Director, Fojo Media Institute, Linnaeus University) discussed “Formal journalism education versus on-the-jobcapacity development and why training often fails”; Ye Naing Moe (Media Trainer) discussed “Capacity building for journalists in Myanmar – major challenges, needs and opportunities”; Mr. Ramon P. Tuazon (President, Asian Institute of Journalism and Communication – AIJC, Philippines) discussed “Towards a Competency-based Continuing Education Programme for Myanmar Journalists”. Then question-and-answer session was opened.

Session five was presided by Ye Naing Moe (Media Trainer) and Johan Romare, (Director, Fojo Institute).

Speakers were Mr. Christopher John Warren, Member, International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) Executive Committee, Asia/Pacific: “Shaping Journalism – how journalists work together”;  Soe Myint (Managing Director of Mizzima Media): “Collective Responsibilities of different media stakeholders in strengthening democratic transition”; Oren Murphy (Regional Director, Asia, Internews): “Rights and Ethics of the journalist in democratic transition”. Then question-and-answer session was followed.

Session six was presided by Tin Maung Thann (President, Myanmar Egress) and Muhammad Amir Rana (Director, Pak Institute for Peace Studies, Islamabad). Three Speakers discussed their respective topic. Mr. Eric Soulier, Director, Mediterranean Region and Asia, Canal France International – Canal France International (CFI): “Can media help building durable peace and development? The CFI experience in Africa, Middle East and Asia”; Soe Thein @ Maung Wun Tha (Writer and Editorial Advisor to The People’s Age journal): “On-going peace negotiations in Myanmar and the role of media”; Ms. Johanna Son, Regional Director, Inter Press Service – Asia Pacific: “Reporting Development and Public Journalism in the Context of Peace building”. Then question-and-answer session was followed.        

The concluding session was moderated by Jesper Højberg (Executive Director, International Media Support) and Ms. Susanne Ørnager (Adviser for Communication & Information in Asia, UNESCO).

Panelists were Ms. Lyndal Barry (Pyoe Pin Program, Myanmar) and Thiha Saw (Chief Editor, Open News Weekly).  During the session the participants discussed the lessons learnt and the proposed way forward. The two panelists acted as the rapporteurs for the two-day conference and summarized the records. The two moderators steered the discussions to carry on the final outcomes of the conference.

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