Burma English NewspaperMyanmar English Newspaper
Burma's dailies question the state sole proprietorship again
It will be a first for most Burmese citizens, also known as Myanmar, when private dailies take to the street on Monday. There were many who were not even conceived when the deceased regime leader Ne Win placed a state dictatorship imposing a government solemn order on the newspaper in the sixties. However, for 81-year-old Khin Maung Lay, the reincarnation of the dailies is like a second world.
He' s editor-in-chief of Golden Fresh Land, one of four newspapers for Monday sales as Myanmar makes another move towards democratization. He is old enough to remember that during the era of parliamentarian democracies after Burma's 1948 Independence from Britain, there was a large and lively newspaper in Burma, English, Hindi and Chinaman.
Every day Khin Maung Lay worked as a leading journalist for the Myanmar bilingual Mogyo before she was expelled from the store in 1964 under federal pressures. He is the editor-in-chief of Golden Fresh Land - the name is less embarrassing in Burma's former name - and leads a group of young reporters he hired from various weekly newspapers who know the free media idea the least because they grew up under the five decade rule of the war.
There are countless opportunities, Khin Maung Lay admits, but he said he was willing to face them "in the name of media freedom". "I am, however, prepared to run the newspaper in the sense of the liberty and professionality that my colleagues in the good old times used to teach. "The newspaper's revival is part of President Thein Sein's reforms, who took up the post of leader of an electoral civil administration in March 2011 after his tenure as premier in the war.
At the top of his agendas was the liberalisation of politics and the economy in order to promote domestic developments. We have benefited greatly from the media. In August last year, the regime abolished censure and allowed journalists to publish footage that would have been unimaginable under warlordship. This involves a custodial sentence of a maximum of seven years for non-registration and allows the goverment to withdraw the publication license at any given moment.
In December, the Chinese authorities said that any citizen of Burma who wanted to start publication of a newspaper was welcome and could start publication on April 1. Approximately two tens of applicants were received, and Golden Fresh Land was one of 16 admitted. Other newspapers are newspapers published by Aung San Suu Kyi's leaders of the oppositions, the Aung San Suu Kyi's national League for Democracy and Thein Sein's governing Union Solidarity and Development Partie.
Monday's début of The Voice Daily, edited by the same group that has been editing a much-loved newspaper since 2004. "I' m very nervous that we are going to print our daylies. It' a nightmare come true, because that was our goal when we started to publish Voice Journal in 2004," said 42-year-old editor-in-chief Kyaw Min Shwe on Sunday as journalists rushed around his editorial office to release their first issue.
While he said that the incumbent governments have a monetary and sales benefit, "I can say with complete certainty that we can rival the governments' journals in matters of message contents and qualities. "Most of the reports on topical and domestic events in the state media are little more than the equivalents of the government's statements, which usually report less than gripping issues such as the name of all the officers who took part in the opening of a new viaduct.
New Light of Myanmar is conscious of its vulnerabilities and is looking for a JV to help redesign it. Accession of the governing Union Solidarity and Development Partys, known as the Union Daily, is planning to use its solid funding basis. "We' re economically powerful and we have many skilled people," he said, and added that the political group will have its own leaflet of publicity and that the newspaper will not be a megaphone.
There will be fierce rivalry from experienced large audio-visual groups who say they will be starting later. "â??We need more preparatory work and we need test drives before we head to the day-to-day edition,â said Dr. Than Htut Aung, currently Chairman and Co-chair of popular daily edition Eleven, which The daily Eleven will be kicking off on May 3.
"I' m going to publish my first issue a day on May 3rd, Freedom of the Press Day, because it is very symbolic," he said.