Friday, 21 March 2014

Myanmar seeks transformation of state media into public service media

Myanmar is seeking a transformation of its state-run media into a public service media in a bid to narrow the knowledge gap among the country's people, state media reported Tuesday.

A public service media bill has been submitted to the parliament's Lower House for approval, Minister of Information U Aung Kyi was quoted as saying.

"The bill was drafted with the assistance of UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) so that the bill can be in conformity with the principles of diversity of media pluralism," U Aung Kyi told the parliament Monday.

According to the minister, out of Myanmar's literate population of 49 million, 43 million living mostly in rural areas cannot afford to subscribe to newspapers.

He maintained that freedom of expression cannot develop without media pluralism.

He believed that if the parliament approves the public service media bill, there will be media pluralism with public service media, state-owned media, joint-venture media, non-profit media and ethnic- and community-owned media in the country.

Meanwhile, Myanmar's state English version daily newspaper -- The New Light of Myanmar under the ministry -- will be operated under a joint venture with local privately-owned Global Direct Link Company, according to earlier official report.

With the ministry holding 51 percent share and the private company 49 percent, the new New Light of Myanmar daily will be published after the joint venture Global New Light of Myanmar Company changes its form and content.

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.

Since then, 31 private daily newspapers had been granted license for publication, of which 24 are Myanmar-language papers and two others are in English.

However, the ministry warned that of the granted publications, over two dozens of dailies, journals and magazines, which could not publish in time, will be stopped.

There are six state-owned dailies in addition to over 200 privately-run weekly journals in Myanmar, English and Chinese languages, as well as over 200 magazines and nearly 7,000 private publishers.

source: Global Times
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