Follow Us:

Conference demonstrates strong support for current media reforms in Myanmar

©UNESCO

©UNESCO

©UNESCO

©UNESCO

23.05.2013

YANGON, 23 May 2013 – With nearly 300 participants the 2ndConference on Media Development in Myanmar on 20 – 21 May in Yangonmarked another significant milestone in Myanmar’s media reform process.

Under the  theme ‘The Role of Media in Democratic Transitions: Successes, Challenges and the Way Forward’, government officials, private and state owned media companies, professional journalists associations, academia, civil society and international organizations met to stock and emerge with a set of practical recommendations for further development of Myanmar media.

The conference took place after a year of significant change in Myanmar’s media sector, with the abolishment of censorship, the drafting of new media laws, the establishment of an interim press council and the recent re-emergence of Myanmar’s first private daily newspapers as some of the many milestones.

“This one year’s journey of media development has shown the importance of committed ties between the Government, UNESCO, IMS, the interim press council, the local and international media institutions and civil society. Our country’s media reform cannot be fully accomplished without the active participation of all of you,” said H.E. U Aung Kyi, Union Minister for Information, at the opening of the conference.

This year’s conference was organized by the Ministry of Information and the Myanmar Media Development Thematic Working Group (MDTWG) in partnership with UNESCO and International Media Support (IMS), with the support of a wide range of development partners and international and national media groups. It covered topics such as media legislation and regulation, regional media reforms, media, peace and conflict, business of media, public service media, media and good governance, and journalism training and education.

“Free media is the cornerstone of a democratic society. Independent journalism requires real independence from economic and political ownership; proper education and further training; and profitable companies that reinvest in journalism. We will continue to partner with Myanmar in its reform process towards truly independent and free media,” said Danish Ambassador Mikael Winther, on behalf of the embassies of Denmark, Sweden and Norway as the key donors of the conference.

UNESCO Deputy regional director Etienne Clement expressed satisfaction on the outcomes of the conference. He noted that it was a very “inclusive” forum as journalists from local and ethnic media actively participated as speakers and participants. He challenged the participants to now focus on the next steps to be undertaken. “After listening to commitments, plans of action and success stories, we should now continue with concrete actions to ensure that Myanmar becomes a real showcase of successful democratic transition.” Clement also reminded the participants from diverse sectors of the importance of working together.

The conference yielded many policy options and action agenda. Participants emphasized the need for access to information and the passage of a freedom of information law; policies and programmes which will support wider distribution of newspapers and journals in remote communities; and greater transparency by national and local officials in dealing with the news media. As the private sector begins to invest more on the media sector, an agenda on how to ensure a fair and competitive business environment was extensively discussed. Capacity development of journalists was identified as among the top priorities in almost all sessions inclusive of both academic degree and short-term courses. Speakers and participants also laid down proposed parameters in media coverage of the peace process, elections, human rights and other development concerns.

The conference ended with much optimism that the momentum for media reform can be sustained or even accelerated with more stakeholders involved especially at the local levels.

 

Media contacts:
Ministry of Information: Daw Thida Tin, Deputy Director, +95 9 730 39 719, thidahlaing@gmail.com
UNESCO: Mr. Ramon R. Tuazon, UNESCO Myanmar CI Specialist, +95 9 4211 56 901, gr.tuazon-ramon@unesco.org
International Media Support: Esben Q Harboe, Programme Manager, +45 5 210 78 05, eh@i-m-s.dk

For more information (agenda, speakers, documentation and full list of contributing partners) visit myanmarmediadevelopment.org. You can also follow us at: www.facebook.com/pages/Mediadevmyanmar/249182938556191
and https://twitter.com/MediaDevMyanmar