8 March is International Women’s Day and we are taking the opportunity to shine the spotlight on the challenges and opportunities faced by IMS-Fojo’s partners and colleagues within the Myanmar media sector. Here is what they had to say.
Fojo Media Institute - myanmar
"We need to discuss how gender equality can contribute to independence, self-regulation and quality journalism"
- We need to discuss how gender equality can contribute to independence, self-regulation and quality journalism, says Agneta Jacobsson while launching the IMS-Fojo in Myanmar study ”Gender in the Myanmar Media Landscape” at the fifth Conference on the Media Development in Myanmar.
The new research is focused not only on Yangon but represents what is happening in the states and divisions (of Myanmar), an almost unexplored area when it comes to gender equality in the media.
Myanmar media faces rapid change as the country moves towards a possible democracy. New TV-channels and newspapers are launched and with the opening of the borders the media sector is booming.
Exile media is returning bringing new competition to the market.
But it is a complex situation, which is pointed out in this report from Committee to Protect Journalists: An uneasy homecoming for Burma's exile media.
Twenty-two aspiring photojournalists expanded their capacity for powerful storytelling at a workshop held in southern Myanmar this December. The participants arrived with varying levels of experience, including some who were completely new to photojournalism, but by the end of the workshop, each had created a moving photo story documenting child labour in and around the city of Mawlamyine, the capital of Mon State.
It is not easy to get here, still over 180 participants from Myanmar ethnic media groups, NGO's, government representatives, journalist students and other media prominent persons made the journey to the 3rd Ethnic Media Conference in Hakha, Chin state mid-march. Some of them travelled on a bus from Yangon in over 30 hours, other flew to "nearby" town Kalay and then drove for up to ten hours over the beautiful mountain landscape. Yet everyone teamed up to discuss how to sustain the ethnic language media in the current Myanmar political transition period.
“In our area we don’t have police and military, but we have drug lords. It’s very difficult and very dangerous to collect news and we have to be humble and find agreements or else we can not continue,” said Nan Paw Gay, Executive Director at Burma News International and editor-in-chief of the Karen Information Center.
A new law that was adopted in August this year could up for new voices to be heard in national news as BNI is now planning to permit the first licensed community media outlets in Myanmar. But the new opportunities also come with challenges. As the structures of power within Myanmar’s media landscape changes, representatives call for guidelines for self-regulation, safety issues and gender equality.
Final hours of Fojo partners Myanmar Journalism Institute summer school. Feedback session on graduation productions of the first batch of ninteen full time diploma students.
High quality print, audio and video on current Myanmar issues!
The building is deceptive. Three storeys high with a roof terrace spanning the entire length and width of the white washed building. Grubby and dull on the outside - but full of vibrancy, warmth and high hopes on the inside.
The Democratic Voice of Burma TV station, based in Chiang Mai, in North Thailand was certainly an eye opener to me - a freelance Broadcast Journalist from London, more akin to working in state of the art buildings with matching studios and newsrooms to boot and the latest technology has to offer.
I am here in Chiang Mai on a mission. My main objective is to raise the standards of on-screen presentation of both reporters and the face of DVB - the presenters. I had planned on being more of an observer on day one; I wanted to get a sense of the place, of the people. Assess the news output and gather my thoughts. However, I felt an urge to just get on with it.
– Its cheaper than FM broadcasting, its a platform everyone with internet or a smartphone in the community can use and we can broadcast independent information.
The training is the first Online radio training held for ethnic language journalists, all of their media houses members of BNI, a partner to Fojo/IMS. The idea is to slow start online radio shows, while waiting for the new broadcasting law to come into full effect.
– With online radio we at Shan Herald for example can provide broadcast time for human rights organisations like SWAN (Shan Women´s Action Network ) that contributes to the empowering of women.
The partnership between Fojo and IMS (International Media Support) in Myanmar has come to Facebook. Here you find the new page!
- Thanks to Swedish support, we are able to work with our partners here in Myanmar to develop an independent and professional media that supports the ongoing democratic reform process, is written in the first post.
The program in Myanmar will focus on media-related law and policy-making; professionalization of journalists and strengthening ethical standards; community media and access to information. You can read more about it here.
With a grant from the Swedish Government the two organisations will continue their long-term engagement with Myanmar’s media, policy makers and institutions towards the development of a professional, independent and accountable media in Myanmar.
The programme which runs from April 2016 – April 2019 will focus on
i.) support to media-related law and policy-making;
ii) professionalization of journalists and strengthening ethical standards; as well as
iii) community media and access to information.
“Our priority over the next three years will be to support our strong local partners in their efforts to develop independent and accountable media as a driver of positive social and political change.” says Johan Romare, International Director at Fojo Media Institute.
Bättre medielagstiftning, en helt ny journalistutbildning och ökat oberoende för landets journalister. Det är några av resultaten av Fojos och International Media Support (IMS) arbete i Myanmar de senaste åren. Nu fortsätter mediestödet i ytterligare tre år med finansiering från Sida.
Det förnyade svenska stödet på 22 miljoner kronor gör det möjligt för Fojo och IMS att fortsätta det långsiktiga arbetet att utveckla en självständig, professionell media i nära samarbete med partners från mediebranschen, civilsamhället, regeringen och andra internationella medieutvecklingsorganisationer.
– I use the lessons related to television in her current job already and found it is very useful, says Kay Zon Nway and smiles broadly. She is one of ninteen happy students to graduate from the one year full time diploma course of Myanmar Journalism Institute today in Yangon. In future, she wants to continue her further study in online, mobile, radio, and as most other students, she already been offered a job.
The droning air con is desperately trying to push down the temperature outside from a challenging +39C. More than 20 editors and sub-editors are gathered around the big table in the newsroom in Bahan township, Yangon.
But the soaking atmosphere is not what is concerning this crowd right now. In a couple of weeks they are launching a daily newspaper together - and almost none of them have worked on a daily before.
The fifth Media Development Conference, tentatively scheduled for 7-8 November, will lavish special attention on issues of gender and ethnicity in Myanmar media. This was the message coming out of a preparatory steering committee meeting on 1 October in which Minister of Information Dr Pe Myint took part in discussions on the theme and agenda of the Conference.
'Gender in the Myanmar Media Landscape' conducted by Fojo Media Institute with IMS' support, looks to assess the current status of gender equity in the country's media sector. The findings shed light on the relative position of women in the country's fledgling media scene.In the first study of its kind conducted in Myanmar, the report
While the Myanmar media sector continues its rapid development following the begining of a democratic reform process in 2011, gender equity in the media sector has not been examined closely or addressed until now. Although female media practitioners are well-represented in newsrooms making up for over 50% of staff on average, media institutions remain male dominated on levels of decision making. This results in two main challenges for women within the industry: a lack of opportunity to advance their careers and an absence of institutional mechanisms supportive of female media workers.
Based on UNESCO's model curriculum for journalism education, the study was undertaken acknowledging media's essential role in the promotion of equity in the Myanmar society. To change the existing gender roles, the media itself must mirror gender equity within the media institutions, both in policy and practice. A professional media that respects gender equity, promotes liberal values and a plural society can positively contribute to a country in transition like Myanmar and help shape its future.
The study "Gender in the Myanmar Media Landscape" was conducted with the support of IMS and the Swedish International Development Agency Cooperation.
Zin Zin, is a 31-year-old reporter for Taninsari Weekly in Myanmar. She has worked in the media for seven years and last week she came to the Myanmar Media Library in Yangon to learn how to pass on her skills and knowledge to a new generation of Burmese journalists.
A founding assembly for the Myanmar Journalism Institute (MJI) was held on May 4 in Yangon. At the meeting MJI's first Board of Directors was elected. Mr Thiha Saw, Editor in chief of Myanmar Freedom was elected Chair and Soe Myint from Mizzima Media Group was elected Vice Chair. All in all, 39 founding members from all sectors apart from the state media were represented at the meeting.
Jaldeep Katwala, Fojo project manager for Southeast Asia, is busy setting up a new project in the region. Funded by the Government of Sweden, the new three-year initiative will establish a network of mid-career journalism training institutes across four Southeast Asian countries including Myanmar, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam.
Currently, Jaldeep is making brief introductory visits to each country to meet with partners and lay the groundwork for the project before returning Bangkok, where he is based. This will be his first time working in any of the four countries involved in the project, and he is eager to learn more about each of them.