After decades of political and economic isolation, Myanmar introduced a process of dynamic reform in 2011 that also greatly benefited the media sector: The country saw an official end to press censorship. In 2013, the private newspaper market was re-established. Journalists were allowed to join together in professional associations. And new media laws led to the formation of a permanent press council (the News Media Council) and have also paved the way for the creation of private radio and TV as well as community radio stations. Following the election victory in November 2015 of the opposition National League for Democracy (NLD) led by Nobel Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi, the reform process in the Southeast Asian country is expected to continue, together with the ongoing push for media openness and liberalization.
The focus of DW Akademie's work in Myanmar is on training journalists and developing sustainable structures in the media sector. DW Akademie has been closely involved in establishing Myanmar's largest journalism school, the Myanmar Journalism Institute (MJI), as a center for excellence in basic journalism studies as well as in the training of local trainers. Since 2014, DW Akademie has also been advising the Myanmar Press Council (Interim) as it evolves into the more permanent News Media Council and has, since 2013, been helping the state-run broadcaster Myanmar Radio and Television (MRTV) transition to a public broadcasting model. At the heart of DW Akademie's consulting work in Myanmar is to assist with the decentralization of available programming and the way it is structured. In parallel, DW Akademie is engaged in developing the country's community radio stations. In a country that's still plagued by civil war and has 135 official ethnic groups speaking more than 100 languages and dialects, people outside the urban centers continue to lack access to the media. It is here that radio programs in local languages can play an important role in promoting peace and reconciliation, strengthening human rights and providing access to information.
Funding sources: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), German Foreign Office (AA)
Country coordinator: Prof.Dr. Andrea Rübenacker
Deployed specialists: Isabella Kurkowski
Operational locations: Yangon, Htan Tabin, Mawlamyaing
Local partners: Myanmar Journalism Institute(MJI), Myanma Radio and Television(MRTV), News Media Council (NMC), Htan TabinVDC Federation