Myanmar Media: Legacy and Challenges

  • Maria Ochwat Wyzsza Szkola Bankowa
Keywords: press freedom, freedom of speech, human rights, Myanmar, media, democracy, security

Abstract

For nearly fifty years Myanmar was ruled by a military junta. It did not tolerate any criticism, and severely punished anyone who dared to oppose them. At the same time, it cut the country off from the rest of the world, preventing it from being informed about Burma’s internal situation. The announcement of the changes came when Thein Sein’s first civilian government was formed in 2011. Almost 10 years have passed since then and Myanmar, according to the Press Freedom Index, is considered to be one of the countries where freedom of speech and freedom of the media are commonly violated and journalists are often persecuted and punished. Freedom of expression is one of the pillars of a democratic society, the basis for its development and a condition for the self-fulfillment of the individual. One of the most important ways of exercising freedom of speech is through free and independent media.

The issue of respect for freedom of expression and freedom of the media must be seen in a broader context. It should be noted that there is a close link between respect for human rights and peacekeeping. Although freedom of expression, and thus freedom of the media, is one of those freedoms which may be restricted in specific situations, it cannot be done arbitrarily. Under public international law the exercise of these freedoms, since it carries with it duties and responsibilities, may be subject to such formalities, conditions, restrictions or penalties as are prescribed by law and are necessary in a democratic society, in the interests of national security, territorial integrity or public safety, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals, for the protection of the reputation or rights of others, for preventing the disclosure of information received in confidence, or for maintaining the authority and impartiality of the judiciary. The authorities of Myanmar, when introducing and maintaining restrictions on freedom of speech and media, often invoke the need to restrict freedom of speech and media for reasons of state security, protection of morality or public order. However, one can venture to say that they are in fact afraid of criticism and possible public actions against the current authorities.

References

LEGAL ACTS

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Constitution of Myanmar, https://www.burmalibrary.org/docs07/1974Constitution.pdf, 02.01.2020.

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The Burma Citizenship Law 1892, https://www.refworld.org/docid/3ae6b4f71b.html, (10.01.2020).

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The Electronic Transactions Law, https://www.myanmartradeportal.gov.mm/en/legal/216, (13.02.2020).

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The Television and Video Act, https://www.burmalibrary.org/docs6/Television_and_Video_Law.pdf, (10.02.2020).

The Unlawful Associations Act 1908, http://www.asianlii.org/mm/legis/code/uaa1908255/, (11.02.2020).

Wide Area Network Establishment and Service Providing order No. 3/2002.

JURISDICTION

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ARTICLES/CHAPTERS IN BOOKS

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DAW AUNG SAN SUU KYI, http://topics.nytimes.cyom/top/reference/timestopics/people/a/daw_aung_san_suu_kyi/index.html, (26.06.2012).

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Myanmar’s Aung San Suu Kyi Takes the Stand , https://foreignpolicy.com/2019/12/12/myanmars-aung-san-suu-kyi-takes-the-stand/, (20.01.2020).

OLARN K., Myanmar confirms sweeping election victory for Suu Kyi's party, http://www.cnn.com/2012/04/04/world/asia/myanmar-elections/index.html, (26.06.2012).

PERCY K., More protesters arrested as curfew orders ignored, http://www.abc.net.au/news/2007-09-28/more-burma-protesters-arrested-as-curfew-orders/684316, (26.06.2012).

ROUGHNEEN S., Burmese Media Launch Campaign to Free Jailed Reporters, http://mediashift.org/2011/05/burmese-media-launch-campaign-to-free-jailed-reporters130/, (30.03.2020).

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000 Protestors Flood Street of Rangoon in “Saffron Revolution”, http://www.novinite.com/view_news.php?id=85644, (26.06.2012).

REPORTS

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Assessment of media development in Myanmar, IPDC The International Programme for the Development of Communication, http://www.unesco.org/new/en/communication-and-information/resources/publications-and-communication-materials/publications/full-list/assessment-of-media-development-in-myanmar/, (10.01.2020).

Burma, https://www.hrw.org/world-report/2019/country-chapters/burma, (13.01.2020).

Burmese media combating censorship, http://en.rsf.org/birmanie-report-burma-combating-censorship-22-12-2010,39134.html, (28.09.2013).

Burmese media spring, https://reliefweb.int/sites/reliefweb.int/files/resources/burmese_spring.pdf , (28.09.2013).

Crimes in Burma, A Report by International Human Rights Clinic at Harvard Law School.

Freedom of the Press. Report 2007, http://www.freedomhouse.org/report/freedom-press/freedom-press-2007?page=251&year=2007, (28.09.2013).

Lehmann-Jacobsen E., Myanmar audience study 2018. Myanmar's media from an audience perspective, IMS-Fojo, September 2018 https://www.mediasupport.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/Myanmar-audience-study-2018_online.pdf.

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Union of Myanmar (Burma) @Arrests and trials of political prisoners January-July 199, https://www.amnesty.org/download/Documents/196000/asa160101991en.pdf, (10.04.2020).

THE INTERNET

Amnesty International, https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2018/11/amnesty-withdraws-award-from-aung-san-suu-kyi/, (02.02.2020).

Amnesty International https://www.amnesty.org/en/countries/asia-and-the-pacific/myanmar/, (13.01.2020).

Aung San Suu Kyi Biography, https://www.nobelprize.org/prizes/peace/1991/kyi/lecture/, (10.01.2020).

Burma law formally bars Aung San Suu Kyi from election, http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/8559048.stm, (22.06.2012).

Burma’s Saffron Revolution is not over, http://www.ituc-csi.org/burma-s-saffron-revolution-is-not?lang=en, (26.06.2012).

CIA, https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/resources/the-world-factbook/geos/bm.html, (14.01.2020).

Editor and office manager of Myanmar Nation charged under press law, https://rsf.org/en/news/editor-and-office-manager-myanmar-nation-charged-under-press-law, (05.02.2020).

In Myanmar, Facebook is the Internet and the Internet is Facebook, https://seasia.yale.edu/myanmar-facebook-internet-and-internet-facebook, (10.04.2020).

Internet cafe in Myanmar, http://www.myanmar2day.com/myanmar-information/2009/02/internet-cafe-in-myanmar/, (28.09.2013).

Journalist unions in Myanmar in joint campaign for press freedom, https://www.mediasupport.org/journalist-unions-in-myanmar-join-forces-in-campaign-to-curb-restrictive-media-laws/, (10.01.2020).

Myanmar: Guarantee the right to free expression in the constitution, https://www.hrw.org/news/2019/04/11/myanmar-guarantee-right-free-expression-constitution, (05.02.2020).

Myanmar newspapers and news sites, https://www.w3newspapers.com/myanmar/, (05.01.2020).

Myanmar Profile, http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-pacific-12991727, (26.06.2012).

Myanmar: UN rights expert to probe allegations of abuses during crackdown http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=24405&Cr=myanmar&Cr1=#.UkdJmhZyqYQ, (22.08.2012).

Myanmar Parliamentary Chamber: Pyithu Hluttaw, ELECTIONS HELD IN 1990, http://archive.ipu.org/parline-e/reports/arc/2388_90.htm, (10.01.2020).

Republic of the Union of Myanmar. Myanmar National Human Rights Commission, http://www.mnhrc.org.mm/en/about/about-the-commissioner/, (11.02.2020).

Situation in Myanmar : resolution / adopted by the General Assembly, https://www.refworld.org/docid/3b00efe1c.html, (10.01.2020).

The Myanmar Elections: Results and Implications, https://www.burmalibrary.org/docs21/ICG-2015-12-09-the-myanmar-elections-results-and-implications-en-red.pdf, (16.01.2020).

Transparency International, https://www.transparency.org/country/MMR#, (20.01.2020).

UN Commission on Human Rights, Situation of human rights in Myanmar, 10 March 1993, E/CN.4/RES/1993/73, https://www.refworld.org/docid/3b00f0c520.html (15.01.2020).

UN Treaty database, https://tbinternet.ohchr.org/_layouts/15/TreatyBodyExternal/Treaty.aspx?CountryID=119&Lang=EN, (25.02.2020).

Population and Housing Census of Myanmar - Data Sheet, https://myanmar.unfpa.org/sites/default/files/pub-pdf/Census%20Data%20Sheet%20-%20ENGLISH_0.pdf, (25.01.2020).

Published
2020-06-15
How to Cite
Ochwat, M. (2020). Myanmar Media: Legacy and Challenges. The Age of Human Rights Journal, (14), 245-271. https://doi.org/10.17561/tahrj.v14.5516
Section
ARTICLES