The landslide victory of Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy party in Myanmar in late 2015 has provided renewed hope for further change after a marked slowdown in media reform efforts.
Since 2011, significant reforms in the media sector have taken place, owever, much remains to be done and the onus is now on the NLD-led government and Myanmar’s journalists to carry forward the progress and safeguard press freedom.
The massive socio-economic change across all sections of Myanmar society has given the media a new role in supporting the democratization of the country and has highlighted both the need for training in basic journalism skills, values and attitudes to raise standards in the industry, and the need for local trainers to sustain and embed the training in the country's newsrooms.
The media in Myanmar is predominantly produced by young, inexperienced journalists without formal journalism training and the need for training is pressing.
Fojo has been active in Myanmar since 2011, supporting exiled media. In 2012 Fojo started working with a number of Myanmar partners, engaged in establishing entry-level and mid-career training for journalists. In cooperation with local partners Fojo is offering training according to local needs, such as basic skills, news room management, training of trainers and more.
Furthermore, Fojo supports Myanmar Journalism Institute (MJI), the country's first national, independent journalism school. The MJI has been established in close collaboration with the Myanmar media industry and a number of international media development partners (Fojo, IMS, CFI and DWA).
MJI started offering a part-time diploma for working journalists in 2014. Full-time diploma courses and further training for working journalists will be introduced during 2015. Fojo is also supporting MJI in developing curricula, training of trainers, and by providing funding for training courses and equipment.
Fojo's work in Myanmar has a strong focus on gender. As part of Fojo's cooperation with MJI, a first study to highlight the role of women within the Myanmar media industry has been conducted. You can read the study here. The study has been well received among local media professionals and will be followed by gender-sensitizing training of media organizations and trainers/lecturers.
A pilot project to support women's organizations to start up community radio stations has also been initiated.
Fojo's engagement in Myanmar is a part of a larger media development program run by International Media Support (IMS), supported by the governments of Sweden, Denmark and Norway. In April 2016, IMS and Fojo Media Institute have embarked on a new three year programme that focuses on the further development of:
- media-related law and policy-making;
- the professionalisation of journalists and ethical standards;
- community media and access to information.