Myanmar weekly journals to become daily papers

Myanmar/Burma general discussion and topics not covered in other areas.
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Myanmar weekly journals to become daily papers

Post by Saiua » Fri Mar 29, 2013 7:24 am

After embracing the Internet age and filing breaking news on Twitter and Facebook, Myanmar’s long-muzzled reporters are gearing up for another revolution — daily newspapers.

New freedoms have swept through Myanmar’s press since a reformist regime took power two years ago, but archaic rules meant private titles could only publish once a week.

That is set to change from April 1, when 16 weekly news journals will be allowed to become dailies.

“People are really excited about having daily newspapers. But I’m worried whether their hopes will be met 100 percent when the papers are in the market,” said Nyein Naing, editor of 7Day News, one of Myanmar’s most popular journals.

Each morning an array of readers, from civil servants to rickshaw drivers, gather at streetside news stands to devour the newly uncensored news culled from the various weeklies.

It is a novel experience for a population hungry for information after decades of rule by a repressive junta that neutered the country’s media.

“I think when daily papers come out, they will be more capable to lead and educate the people,” lawyer Htay Win told AFP in a teashop in a bustling suburb of the largest city Yangon.

News reporting in Myanmar is already a far cry from during the junta era, when sensitive news was often delivered through whispered rumor.

In November 2010, when Aung San Suu Kyi was freed from house arrest following controversial elections, sales of the First Eleven Sports Journal were halted by the authorities for two weeks because a message about her release was embedded in a front-page football headline.

Two years later Suu Kyi is an MP and her National League for Democracy party is among those at the vanguard of the media revolution, with official approval to convert its D-Wave party pamphlet into a daily paper.
News groups were already working around bans on daily printing, taking to social media to update readers on the latest news.
Recent communal unrest in Myanmar has seen articles on the Facebook pages of major outlets receive hundreds of “likes” and comments.

But the Buddhist-Muslim violence has also exposed weaknesses of a media operating without a clear legal framework and unused to codes of ethical practice.

Some outlets have published reports and images that, according to rights groups, risk inflaming anti-Muslim sentiment in the Buddhist-majority nation.

“The media and authorities have a crucial role to play and the media really need to emphasize on ethics and abide to very professional standards of coverage,” Benjamin Ismail of Reporters Without Borders told AFP.

Myanmar jumped to 151st out of 179 in the media watchdog’s 2013 World Press Freedom Index because of “dramatic changes” that included scrapping its harsh pre-publication scrutiny regime — until last year imposed on everything from newspapers to fairytales.
Observers hope that a new media law being drafted by an interim press council will define the limits of press freedoms and replace draconian junta-imposed legislation.

But reform has been mired in controversy in recent weeks, when authorities revealed they had written their own proposal, stoking fears that government is unwilling to fully relinquish control of the press.

“This bill will be a huge problem for newspaper publishers,” said press council secretary Kyaw Min Swe, who is also editor of the Voice journal.

It is not yet known how many of the 16 private news groups will immediately make the switch to daily printing, which itself is likely to pose huge challenges.

Logistical problems are likely to dog the news pioneers, with few trained reporters, concerns about a dearth of printing machines and a lack of statistics on the potential readership market.

Journals also accuse the state press, which has long monopolized daily publishing, of enjoying unfair advantages in funding and advertising.

The English-language New Light of Myanmar is now looking for a private partner and is angling for popular appeal after replacing the shrill pronouncements of the past — including “Anarchy begets anarchy, not democracy” — with gossip about Hollywood celebrities such as Scarlett Johansson.

But with propaganda still infusing state media’s main stories and headlines such as “Old lamp post replaced with new concrete lamp post,” private news groups are not overly worried about competition from the likes of New Light.

Source: Arab News

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Privately owned daily newspapers return

Post by Poi » Mon Apr 01, 2013 5:04 pm

The newspaper industry might be shrinking in the rest of the world but it expanded Monday in Myanmar when privately run daily newspapers hit newsstands for the first time in 50 years.

For many people, the rebirth of daily papers is a novelty: Many weren’t even born when the late dictator Ne Win imposed a state monopoly on the daily press in the 1960s.

But for 81-year-old Khin Maung Lay, it’s like a second lease on life. He is chief editor of Golden Fresh Land, one of four dailies that went on sale Monday as Myanmar takes another step in its march toward democracy.

“We’ve been waiting half a century for this day,” said the veteran editor, adding that the paper’s initial print run of 80,000 copies was sold out by late morning. “It shows how much people long for private daily newspapers. This morning, I was in tears seeing this.”

He’s old enough to recall there once had been a big and vibrant daily press in the Burmese, English, Indian and Chinese languages in the period of parliamentary democracy after Myanmar, known then as Burma, won independence from Britain in 1948.

Khin Maung Lay worked as a senior newsman at the Burmese language Mogyo daily before it was driven out of business by government pressure in 1964.

Now as chief editor of Golden Fresh Land — the name sounds less awkward in the original Burmese — he heads a team of young journalists he recruited from various weeklies, journalists who have only the briefest of acquaintances with the concept of a free press, having grown up under the military government that ruled for five decades. They are up against some media behemoths and papers belonging to the country’s top political parties.

The ruling USDP party launched a daily called The Union, and the well-established weekly The Voice is converting itself into the Voice Daily. The other newcomer is The Standard Time Daily. All four newspapers are in Burmese, ranging in price from 150 kyat-200 kyat (US20 cents- 25 cents).

Khin Maung Lay acknowledges there are innumerable challenges ahead, but said he is ready to face them “in the name of freedom of press.” He’s well acquainted with the cutting edge of the concept — he went to jail three times under Ne Win, including a three-year stretch in “protective custody,” a catch-all phrase the military regime used when imprisoning critics.

“I foresee several hurdles along the way,” he said. “However, I am ready to run the paper in the spirit of freedom and professionalism taught by my peers during the good old days.”

One of the main hurdles will be beating the competition.

“It won’t be easy for all the newspapers to survive. As a reader, I can’t afford to buy every newspaper, every day,” said taxi driver Tun Win, 52, who normally kept up with current affairs by buying three news weeklies. Nonetheless, he called the arrival of daily papers a big step for the impoverished country.

“Now we can get information every day, rather than once a week,” he said. “It’s the best way to get up-to-date news for those who don’t have access to the Internet.”

Source: Washington Post

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Private dailies re-emerge in Myanmar, face difficulties

Post by Pear » Wed Apr 03, 2013 7:11 am

Four private dailies hit the newsstands for the first time in almost 50 years in Myanmar on Monday, but many others failed to appear, hamstrung by poor financing, archaic equipment and a dearth of reporters.

Sixteen dailies were granted licences by authorities, but only four were published.

The government-affiliated Union Daily, one of three dailies available free of charge, used financial clout to beat out competitors like D-Wave, the paper of opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy (NLD), for which publication preparations are still underway.

"All four papers sold out quickly today," Kyi Kyi, a roadside book vendor, told Reuters.

"But it's very hard to predict their future sales since three of them were distributed free of charge today and the remaining one was sold at 150 kyat ($0.17) per copy,"

Myanmar's quasi-civilian government took power in early 2011 after the military dictatorship relinquished a half-century stranglehold on the former Burma. It embarked on media reforms as part of its democratisation programme in August 2012, when it relaxed draconian censorship.

The three other newspapers distributed were the Voice Daily, Golden Fresh Land and The Standard Time Daily, all Burmese-language publications.

Competitors were unwilling, or unable, to get their dailies into the hands of the public quite as quickly.

"Frankly it's quite early to say for sure when ours will come out. We are still making necessary preparations to publish the daily," said Han Tha Myint, a member of the NLD's Central Executive Committee, which publishes D-Wave Weekly.


Distribution, poor infrastructure, outmoded printing equipment and staffing issues are some of the stumbling blocks for media organisations wanting to expand into dailies.

"To be frank, the government granted licences much earlier than we expected and we were caught by surprise," said the editor of one private paper, who uses the pseudonym Ko Maung.

"There are a lot of things we have to prepare like printing facilities and training staff," he told Reuters, pegging well-funded state-owned dailies as the likely major competitors in a market that will become very crowded, very quickly.

The Ministry of Information has invited local and foreign partners to invest in a joint venture to publish the New Light of Myanmar, a former state propaganda newspaper and the only English-language daily in the country.

Other media groups are waiting for clarity on how Myanmar will treat publications benefitting from foreign investment.

"It's been an excruciating wait, a bit like a tree trying to grow through a crack in a rock, but we have now arrived at the starting line and no one seems at all in a hurry," Ross Dunkley, managing editor of The Myanmar Times, which is applying for licences for both Burmese and English dailies, said last month.

Paris-based Reporters Without Borders (RSF) ranks Myanmar 151st out of 179 countries in its Press Freedom Index, up 18 places compared to the previous year.

RSF has warned that a media bill, presented to parliament in March, could threaten the "fragile" progress Myanmar has made since 2011.

It criticised provisions that could result in newspapers being declared illegal for publishing material liable to threaten national reconciliation, denigrate religions or disturb the rule of law.

Source: IBN Live

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Private media, but how much latitude is there?

Post by Saiua » Wed Apr 10, 2013 8:53 am

For years, the main source of news in this Southeast Asian nation, recently freed from five decades of military dictatorship, was the state-owned daily, the New Light of Myanmar.

The paper regularly railed against foreign radio stations and accused the BBC of reporting lies. It ran stories with headlines such as “Religious Affairs Minister Deals with Religious Matters.” Its slogan, “The Most Reliable Newspaper Around You,” was true, because it was the only daily paper around.

But the New Light is facing competition. On April 1, Myanmar allowed privately owned papers to publish daily for the first time in 50 years. The government officially ended censorship last August, drawing to a close an era that saw journalists harassed, beaten and sometimes jailed or exiled. Now, the state mouthpiece is trying to become something readers might actually want to read. It introduced advertising and colour printing and is now looking to form a joint venture with a private partner.

Four new daily publications appeared this month. “Of course, it is still far from perfect, but we just have to compare with how we’ve been living for the last half-century,” said Khin Maung Win, deputy executive director of Democratic Voice of Burma, a non-profit media organization that has been based in Oslo since 1982.

But a media renaissance in what was until recently one of the world’s most isolated states does not come without challenges.

Although the liberal policies enacted by President Thein Sein since 2011 are unprecedented, no ones knows how the government will react to the challenges of a more open society.

Previously, the government had only allowed weekly publications,which gave government censors ample time to vet articles. Despite the censorship, Burmese proved to be voracious readers and the journals flourished. More than 200 private weeklies started up in the past decade.

One journal planning to go daily is Mizzima, a multimedia news organization founded by exiled journalists in Delhi in 1998. Last year, it became the first of the exile media to move its headquarters to Myanmar. “We thought, okay, this is the time. It’s a transition period. We’ll try to go back,” says Thin Thin Aung, who co-founded Mizzima with her husband.

Mizzima’s headquarters are in a run-down office tower not far from Shwedagon Pagoda, the spiritual heart of Myanmar. The sparse newsroom has canary-yellow walls, neon lights and, on a hot afternoon in late March, very few reporters. The bulk of the staff is in Naypyidaw, the newly built capital, providing media training to government officials – a sign of how far things have come.

Many journalists are concerned, though, about how much freedom they actually have. A draft law submitted to parliament in March would impose a six-month jail sentence for licence violations and a ban on criticizing the military-drafted constitution.

“Journalists here have no idea how far they can go,” says Kyaw Zwa Moe, editor of the English-language Irrawaddy Magazine, which published in Myanmar for the first time in December after 13 years in neighbouring Thailand, where the company maintains its headquarters. “In terms of the corruption issue, in terms of power struggle within government, in terms of powerful military leaders, when we cover those issues, no journalist knows how far they can go. So in a way, they have to impose self-censorship when they report.”

But in a sign the government – and country – is perhaps up for the challenge, parliament delayed discussion on the media bill after an uproar by members of the local press. “The government is learning,” says Thin Thin Aung, Mizzima’s co-founder. “If the journalists fight, they will listen.”

Source: The Globe and Mail

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Further step forward in media reform

Post by KoKo » Thu May 02, 2013 1:22 pm

Myanmar's Ministry of Information Tuesday granted 10 more private daily newspapers for publication in the country in addition to the 16 permitted earlier, signifying a further step taken by the government in media reform.

The 10 newly-granted daily newspapers significantly include two English dailies -- Myanmar Freedom Daily and International Herald Tribute.

The International Herald Tribute, owned by a US company, will be reprinted as the original one to be published in Myanmar.

The other eight dailies are National Times, Eleven News, Nagani, Dana Economy, Warasein, News Watch, Pyi Myanmar and Myanmar Post.

The granting of the 10 new dailies has brought the total number published or to be published in Myanmar to 26.

The prior 16 dailies, granted for publication, are Union, Golden Freshland, Standard Times, Voice, Myanmar Newsweek, 7-Day, Khit Moe, Empire, the Messenger, Up-Date, Mizzima, Khit Thit, Yangon Times, Myanmar Dika, Union Athan, and D-Wave.

Of them, the Union Daily is run by the ruling Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP), while the D-Wave is operated by opposition party, the National, League for Democracy (NLD).

Of the 16 dailies, the prior eight have so far been put on circulation since April 1 and the rest is yet to reach the readers on a late date.

The re-introduction of private daily newspaper in the Southeast Asian nation came after a stop of such publications for five decades.

The go-ahead for the private sector to run daily newspaper is also regarded to be part of the achievements of the country's media reform.

The Myanmar government started media reform in June 2011, and in August 2012, domestic media publication control was totally liberalized.

Myanmar then announced in December 2012 free publication of private daily newspapers, dissolving its Press Scrutiny and Registration Division.

The government also reformed its 29-member provisional Myanmar Press Council in September 2012 which deals with media-related issues before a media law is formally enacted by parliament.

Apart from the emerging private daily newspapers, there are also some six state-owned daily newspapers, over 200 private-run weekly news journals in Myanmar, English and Chinese languages, more than 200 magazines and nearly 7,000 private publishers.

Besides granting publication of private daily newspaper, the government also started to permit more foreign news agencies to station in Myanmar since early this month. So far, three such agencies namely NHK and Kyodo of Japan and US-based Associated Press (AP) are in the process of opening their branches in Yangon.

For the early period, China's official Xinhua News Agency and Guangming Daily were the only two foreign news agencies out of over 20 allowed to station in Myanmar with their country's citizens operating as resident correspondents.

With no branches set up yet but representative offices, other foreign news agencies assigned local Myanmar citizens as their reporters.

There had been more than 20 offices of foreign news agencies in the country before they formally open branches here.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Information stressed the need to enhance the integrity of all media organizations, expressing the belief that as long as journalists maintain their sense of freedom, responsibility and accountability, they would be able to make the temporary press council an association of high dignity.

In November 2012, the Myanmar government replaced former Spokesperson and Information Team with a six-member news media publication team for timely news distribution and helping private journals and foreign media keep abreast with important news.

The information team, headed by current Deputy Minister of President Office U Aung Thein, is tasked to hold press conference occasionally and release news regarding political, economic, security, military and natural disaster affairs of the state in real time.

It will also distribute real-time news to local and foreign media, regional and international organizations and to support and coordinate with media publication teams formed by various ministries.

The Myanmar government has also formed a governing body for transforming three state-owned dailies -- Myanmar Alin, Kyemon ( Mirror) and the New Light of Myanmar, into public service media.

Source: Global Times

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Myanmar considers press freedom law

Post by Saiua » Fri May 03, 2013 6:18 pm

A draft law threatening to damage progress toward press freedom in Myanmar is being scrutinised by journalists on the country’s newly established press council.

Journalists on the council said the Ministry of Information is listening to concerns about the draft Printers and Publishers Enterprise Law, which caused an outcry in March when the government submitted it to parliament without consulting local media.

“We’ve talked a couple times with officials from the ministry,” Thiha Saw, a member of the press council and deputy chief of the Myanmar Journalists Association, told The Irrawaddy.

The press council is in the process of drafting a separate law to safeguard media freedom in the country. Thiha Saw said the council was in talks with the ministry to make sure that the two bills did not “overlap or conflict with” each other. He added that the government had pledged to amend the bill, diluting the ministry’s power to grant and revoke publication licenses.

If passed into statute in its current state, the draft printers and publishers bill would allow the Ministry of Information to revoke or terminate publication licenses for “disturbing the rule of law,” “inciting unrest” or “violating the Constitution.”

This is seen as a return to media censorship by some. “We say registration should not be controlled by the Ministry of Information. They will change that—they have promised to change that,” said Thiha Saw.

Shawn Crispin, Southeast Asia representative at the US-based press watchdog, the Committee to Protect Journalists, criticised the Myanmar government’s decision to send its printers and publishers bill to parliament without consulting journalists.

“The fact that the Ministry of Information was drafting this law, pretty much in the dark without the knowledge of local press groups, shows there is still resistance at the ministry to these liberalising reforms,” he said.

He added that the draft law includes censorship guidelines that use “the same vague language of the old laws”.

“Journalists are not allowed to write against the Constitution or present news that could incite violence, and these are very vague terms that have been used and abused in an arbitrary fashion in the past,” he said.

But Ye Htut, Myanmar’s deputy minister of information told The Irrawaddy: “The draft bill is not about journalists or the press. It’s about registering printing presses and publishers. It’s to prevent hate speech, pornography and [to protect] public safety.”

Meanwhile, the Myanmar government awarded licenses to 10 more private daily newspapers earlier this week. The new titles include National Time Daily, Daily Eleven News, Myanma Freedom Daily, The Nagani Daily, Dana Business Daily, Warazein Daily, Newswatch Daily, The Pyi Myanmar Daily, Myanmar Post Daily and the International Herald Tribune, according to the state-run New Light of Myanmar newspaper.

Private daily newspapers started publishing in Myanmar last month after a 45-year ban. The old rules meant private titles could only publish once a week. But 16 weekly news journals were permitted to become dailies on April 1.

Friday May 3 is World Press Freedom day. To mark the day, a report by the Southeast Asian Press Alliance (Seapa) urged Myanmar to consolidate the gains that it had made toward boosting media freedom.

It warned that the draft printers and publishers bill “is a threatening indicator of the direction of that the Myanmar government is taking”. “The government still seems bent to retain control of the press and right to freedom of opinion and expression,” the report said.

A separate Seapa report on press freedom in Thailand said the Thai media is struggling with ethical issues, political polarisation and the constraints of the lese majeste law.

“The Thai media continues its soul-searching for the correct balance between ethical responsibility and freedom of speech, which is currently being exercised over the political stream with no solution or remedy to the political divide,” the report claimed.

“While the print media revisits the effectiveness of its self regulatory regime, the broadcast sector is also searching for the right framework to regulate the booming digital broadcast industry which could see an unprecedented volume of new content to feed the increased number of television channels.”

Source: Bangkok Post

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Myanmar Times faces delays in going daily

Post by Pear » Wed May 08, 2013 7:24 am

World Press Freedom Day, on May 3, was supposed to be an historic day for Myanmar Consolidated Media, Ltd (MCM): this was the special date chosen for the launch of the first daily edition of The Myanmar Times in English.

But the date came and went without the daily hitting the streets due to ongoing struggles between the company's foreign and local partners.

At the last minute, majority shareholder Dr Tin Tun Oo's Swesone Company refused to sign the application for the daily licence, effectively putting a block on MCM's publishing plans. Nevertheless, on May 6 the company launched the new-look daily format in the weekly edition of The Myanmar Times, including a special insert highlighting all the new features of the daily design.

In his front-page commentary, Editor in Chief Ross Dunkley wrote that as a leading press sector player for almost 13 years, it would have only been appropriate for MCM to have proudly launched its daily along with the 20 or so others that have entered the market over the last month. Instead, he was faced with what he describes as "the somewhat absurd situation of [The Myanmar Times] launching its new-look daily as a weekly".

Mr Dunkley said that continued conflicts between the company's shareholders mean that Myanmar's pioneering English-language newspaper is left to "limp along" while other publications are able to take full advantage of newly relaxed media regulations.

The ownership structure of MCM was recently brought into the spotlight when the company's co-founder, U Myat (Sonny) Swe was released from prison as part of an amnesty program on April 23, having served 8 years of a 14-year sentence handed down to him in 2005, when he was convicted of bypassing censorship regulations.

At that time, he was forced to sell his shares at a reduced price to Dr Tin Tun Oo, resulting in the problematic partnership with Mr Dunkley and other foreign shareholders that has plagued the company ever since. Mr Dunkley is now calling on Dr Tin Tun Oo to sell his shares back to the company’s founder at the same rock-bottom price he paid for them.

"Once this issue is resolved, we will push on to realise our joint ambitions," Mr Dunkley said.

Despite these recent setbacks, Mr Dunkley and MCM's Chief Operating Office, Wendy Madrigal, who is heading up the development of the daily, remain committed to launching daily editions of both the English and Myanmar versions of The Myanmar Times as soon as possible, and are optimistic that the roadblocks to getting the licence can and will be removed soon.

Mr Dunkley emphasised the importance of a free press in the democratic reform process, highlighting the valuable role The Myanmar Times has played -- and will continue to play, no matter what format the paper takes.

"Publications such as The Myanmar Times are the country’s news vehicles of tomorrow because they serve the interests of their readers, reflecting the energy and enthusiasm of a nation eager to embrace the world and a new political future. In times of transition, reliable information and intelligent analysis remain essential, and shining light in dim places is more essential than ever," he said.

Source: Myanmar Times


Re: Myanmar weekly journals to become daily papers

Post by waleeedijaz » Tue Mar 01, 2016 3:00 pm

Each morning an array of readers, from civil servants to rickshaw drivers, gather at streetside news stands to devour the newly uncensored news culled from the various weeklies.

It is a novel experience for a population hungry for information after decades of rule by a repressive junta that neutered the country’s media.

“I think when daily papers come out, they will be more capable to lead and educate the people,” lawyer Htay Win told AFP in a teashop in a bustling suburb of the largest city Yangon.

News reporting in Myanmar is already a far cry from during the junta era, when sensitive news was often delivered through whispered rumor.

In November 2010, when Aung San Suu Kyi was freed from house arrest following controversial elections, sales of the First Eleven Sports Journal were halted by the authorities for two weeks because a message about her release was embedded in a front-page football headline.


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