Germany's Federal President Joachim Gauck has praised DW Akademie's efforts to set up a much-needed journalism school in Myanmar. He referred to the project in a speech given this week at Yangon University.
The first national school of journalism is on the drawing board in Myanmar, with broad engagement by the country's media industry and civil society. The Myanmar Journalism School, as it is currently being called, is to be a homegrown center of quality learning and practice in journalism.
The new institute is currently being established with the long-term commitment of Myanmar's Forever Group (FG), the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and a group of European media development organizations. These include Germany's DW Akademie, Canal France International (CFI), Sweden’s Fojo Media Institute and Denmark's International Media Support (IMS).
The journalism institute is scheduled to start operations on July 1, 2014, initially offering a one-year certificate program for journalism newcomers as well as mid-career training opportunities for working journalists. It is also to offer additional qualifications for postgraduates, and re-training for those changing professions.
It is also to facilitate the reduction or waiver of fees (i.e. through scholarships) to students from low-income families and to persons belonging to Myanmar national minorities.
The institute aims to be independent, with broad national ownership anchored in civil society and the media industry. It is to reflect international practices in quality journalism education, promote universal journalistic values rooted in ethics, and result in trustworthy reporting. This will thus define journalistic professionalism for Myanmar.
National and international partners of the national school of journalism are committed to developing it over the long term, and to sharing values and responsibilities for the school's funding.
Joachim Gauck is being accompanied on his official visit to Myanmar by his partner, Daniela Schadt, a former journalist herself. Schadt together with Mathis Winkler, Head of DW Akademie's Eurasia division, met with Myanmar journalists and DW Akademie alumni for an open exchange on the country's changing media landscape.