Six months after the launch of Khayae FM, Myanmar’s first community radio, representatives of several ethnic minority communities discussed steps for additional radio stations across the country.
A conference in the Myanmar capital Naypyidaw brought groups from several of the country’s ethnic states together in early September to discuss their plans for community radio stations in their regions. A further aim was to learn how the nation’s legal framework is developing around this new media sector.
The one-day meeting, organized by DW Akademie, UNESCO and Myanmar’s Independent Ethnic Media Alliance (IEMA), featured presentations and discussions on broadcasting regulations, community radio’s role in peace and development, and an update from the station managers at Khayae FM, the nation’s first community radio station. They reported how their volunteer citizen journalists had been able to provide timely information to the local population during recent monsoon flooding.
DW Akademie has helped set up Khayae FM in a pilot project agreed with state broadcaster MRTV. "Our work with Khayae FM and the brand-new community radio sector in Myanmar reflects DW Akademie’s core mission: to bring information to people who are often underserved by existing media, " said Eva Mehl, DW Akademie’s Country Manager for Myanmar.
Participants also heard details of promising initiatives from groups in Chin and Mon states. The radio director of MRTV, U Zeyar, encouraged interested groups to develop their concepts further. Myanmar is planning to issue community radio licenses in the near future, after completion of the bylaws to the new Broadcasting Law and the formation of a regulatory body. There was a palpable sense of excitement in the room at the end of the day as communities are now beginning to seriously think about the fundamentals of getting a community station off the ground.